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Full text of "The historical Christ, or, An investigation of the views of Mr. J.M. Robertson, Dr. A. Drews, and Prof. W.B. Smith"

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3 1924 029 311 796 




Cornell University 
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The original of tliis book is in 
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THE HISTORICAL CHRIST 



THE HISTORICAL CHRIST; 



OB, 



AN INVESTIGATION OF THE VIEWS OF 

Mr. J. M. EOBEETSON, Dr. A. DEEWS. 

AND Prof. W. B. SMITH 



BY 

FEED. C. CONYBEAEE, M.A., F.B.A., 

HONORARY FELLOW OF nNITERSITT COLLEQE, OXFORD ; HON. LL.E. 

OF THE HNIVERSITY OF ST. ANDREWS ; HON. DOCTOR 

OF THEOLOGY OF GIESSEN 



[issued for the rationalist press ASSOCIATION, LIMITED] 



LONDON : 

WATTS & CO., 

17 JOHNSON'S COURT, FLEET STREET, E.G. 

1914 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

PREFACE -vii 



CHAP. 

I. HISTOEICAL METHOD 1 

II. PAGAN MYSTEEY PLAYS 81 

III. THE ARGUMENT FROM SILENCE 96 

IV. THE EPISTLES OF PAUL 125 
V. EXTERNAL EVIDENCE 154 

VI. THE ART OF CRITICISM 167 

VII. DR. JENSEN 202 



EPILOGUE 214 

INDEX - 227 



PEEFACE 



This little volume was written in the spring of the 
year 1913, and is intended as a plea for moderation 
and good sense in dealing with the writings of early 
Christianity ; just as my earlier volumes entitled Myth, 
Magic, and Morals and A History of New Testament 
Criticism were pleas for the free use, in regard to the 
origins of that religion, of those methods of historical 
research to which we have learned to subject all 
records of the past. It provides a middle way between 
traditionalism on the one hand and absurdity on the 
other, and as doing so will certainly be resented by 
the partisans of each form of excess. 

The comparative method achieved its first great 
triumph in the field of Indo-European philology ; its 
second in that of mythology and folk-lore. It is 
desirable to allow to it its full rights in the matter of 
Christian origins. But we must be doubly careful in 
this new and almost unworked region to use it with 
the same scrupulous care for evidence, with the same 
absence of prejudice and economy of hypothesis, to 



viii PEBFACB 

which it owes its conquests in other fields. The 
untrained explorers whom I here criticize discover on 
almost every page connections in their subject-matter 
where there are and can be none, and as regularly 
miss connections where they exist. Parallelisms and 
analogies of rite, conduct, and belief between religious 
systems and cults are often due to other causes than 
actual contact, inter-communication, and borrowing. 
They may be no more than sporadic and independent 
manifestations of a common humanity. It is not 
enough, therefore, for one agent or institution or 
belief merely to remind us of another. Before we 
assert literary or traditional connection between 
similar elements in story and myth, we must satisfy 
ourselves that such communication was possible. The 
tale of Sancho Panza and his visions of a happy isle, 
over which he shall hold sway when his romantic lord 
and master, Don Quixote, has overcome with his good 
sword the world and all its evil, reminds us of the naif 
demand of the sons of Zebedee (Mark x, 37) to be 
allowed to sit on the right hand and the left of their 
Lord, BO soon as he is glorified. With equal simplicity 
(Matthew xix, 28) Jesus promises that in the day of 
the regeneration of Israel, when the Son of Man takes 
his seat on his throne of glory, Peter and his com- 
panions shall also take their seats on twelve thrones 
to judge the twelve tribes of Israel. The projected 



PEEFACE ix 

mise en scene is exactly that of a Persian great king 

with his magnates on their several " cushions " of 

state around him. There is, again, a close analogy 

psychologically between Dante's devout adoration of 

Beatrice in heaven and Paul's of the risen Jesus. 

These two parallels are closer than most that Mr. 

Robertson discovers between Christian story and Pagan 

myth, yet no one in his senses would ever suggest 

that Cervantes drew his inspiration from the Gospels 

or Dante from the Pauline Epistles. In criticizing 

the Gospels it is all the more necessary to proceed 

cautiously, because the obscurantists are incessantly 

on the watch for solecisms — or " howlers," as a 

schoolboy would call them ; and only too anxious to 

point to them as of the essence of all free criticism of 

Christian literature and history. 

Ee-reading these pages after the lapse of many 

months since they were written, I have found little to 

alter, though Prof. A. C. Clark, who has been so good 

as to peruse them, has made a few suggestions which, 

where the sheets were not already printed, I have 

embodied. I append a list of errata calling for 

correction. 

Fbbd. C. Conybeaee. 

March 1, 19U. 



fiRRATA 



p. 87, first line of footnote : for " des as Alten " read 
" des alten. " 

P. 110, line 28 : for " passages '' read " episodes." 

P. 116, line 6 : for " At Cyprus they stay with an early 
disciple " read " They stay with an early disciple from 
Cyprus." 

P. 147, line 5: omit the word "twice." 

P. 151, line 9 ; after "verse 20" add: "But, since the 
Bezan omission does not cover the whole of the 
matter taken from Corinthians, we may suppose that 
Luke borrowed the words from the Epistle in 
question." 

P. 167, in marginal lemma : for " of Jesus " read " of 
Jesus of. " 

P. 185, lines 11, 12, read thus: "on it (the Didache) 
the," etc. 



Chapter I 
HISTORICAL METHOD 

In Myth, Magic, and Morals (Chapter IX) I have Orthodox 
remarked that the Church, by refusing to apply in the igm the 
field of so-called sacred history the canons by which parent of 
in other fields truth is discerned from falsehood, by 
beatifying credulous ignorance and anathematizing 
scholarship and common sense, has surrounded the 
figure of Jesus with such a nimbus of improbability 
that it seems not absurd to some critics of to-day to 
deny that he ever lived. The circumstance that both 
in England and in Germany the books of certain 
of these critics — in particular, Dr. Arthur Drews, 
Professor W. Benjamin Smith, and Mr. J. M. 
Eobertson — are widely read, and welcomed by many 
as works of learning and authority, requires that 
I should criticize them rather more in detail than 
I deemed it necessary to do in that publication. 

Benedetto Croce well remarks in his Lorjica (p. 195) ^- ^^°'^^ 
that history in no way differs from the physical of History 
sciences, insofar as it cannot be constructed by pure 
reasoning, but rests upon sight or vision of the fact 
that has happened, the fact so perceived being the 
only source of history. In a methodical historical 
treatise the sources are usually divided into monu- 
ments and narratives ; by the former being understood 
whatever is left to us as a trace of the accomplished 
fact — e.g., a contract, a letter, or a triumphal arch ; 

1 B 



2 



HISTOEICAL METHOD 



Belative 
paucity of 
evangelic 
tradition 



and pre- 
sence of 
miracles 
in it, 



explains 
and ex- 
cuses the 



while narratives consist of such accounts of it as have 
been transmitted to us by those who were more or 
less eye-witnesses thereof, or by those who have 
repeated the notices or traditions furnished by eye- 
witnesses. 

Now it may be granted that we have not in the 
New Testament the same full and direct information 
about Jesus as we can derive from ancient Latin 
literature about Julius Caesar or Cicero. We have 
no monuments of him, such as are the commentaries 
of the one or the letters and speeches of the other. 
It is barely credible that a single one of the New 
Testament writers, except perhaps St. Paul, ever set 
eyes on him or heard his voice. It is more than 
doubtful whether a single one of his utterances, as 
recorded in the Gospels, retains either its original 
form or the idiom in which it was clothed. A mass 
of teaching, a number of aphorisms and precepts, are 
attributed to him; but we know little of how they 
were transmitted to those who repeat them to us, and 
it is unlikely that we possess any one of them as it 
left his lips. 

And that is not all. In the four Gospels all sorts 
of incredible stories are told about him, such as that 
he was born of a virgin mother, unassisted by a 
human father ; that he walked on the surface of the 
water ; that he could foresee the future ; that he 
stilled a storm by upbraiding it ; that he raised the 
dead ; that he himself rose in the flesh from the dead 
and left his tomb empty ; that his apostles beheld 
him so risen ; and that finally he disappeared behind 
a cloud up into the heavens. 

It is natural, therefore — and there is much excuse 
for him — that an uneducated man or a child, bidden 



HISTOEICAL METHOD 3 

unceremoniously in the name of religion to accept extreme 
these tales, should revolt, and hastily make up his school 
mind that the figure of Jesus is through and through 
fictitious, and that he never lived at all. One thing 
only is certain — namely, that insofar as the orthodox 
blindly accept these tales — nay, maintain with St. 
Athanasius that the man Jesus was God incarnate, 
a pre-existent aeon. Word of God, Creator of all 
things, masked in human flesh, but retaining, so far 
as he chose, all his exalted prerogatives and cosmic 
attributes in this disguise — they put themselves out of 
court, and deprive themselves of any faculty of reply 
to the extreme negative school of critics. The latter 
may be very absurd, and may betray an excess of 
credulity in the solutions they offer of the problem of 
Christian origins ; but they can hardly go further 
along the path of absurdity and credulity than the 
adherents of the creeds. If their arguments are to 
be met, if any satisfactory proof is to be advanced of 
the historicity of Jesus, it must come, not from those 
who, as Mommsen remarked, " reason in chains," 
but from free thinkers. 

Those, however, who have much acquaintance with Yet Jesus 
antiquity must perceive at the outset that, if the attested^ 
thesis that Jesus never existed is to be admitted, than most 
then quite a number of other celebrities, less well '^""^^ ^ 
evidenced than he, must disappear from the page of 
history, and be ranged with Jesus in the realm of myth. 

Many characteristically Christian documents, such Age of the 
as the Epistle of Barnabas, the Shepherd of Hermas, christian 
and the Teaching of the Apostles, are admitted by literature 
Drews to have been written before a.d. 100.^ Not 

' Page 20 of The Christ Myth, from a note added in the third 
edition. 



HISTOEICAL METHOD 



If Jesus 
never 
lived, 
neither 
did Solon, 



only the canonical Gospels, he tells us,^ were still 
current in the first half of the second century, but 
several never accepted by the Church — e.g., spurious 
gospels ascribed to Matthew, Thomas, Bartholomew, 
Peter, the Twelve Apostles. These have not reached 
us, though we have recovered a large fragment of 
the so-called Peter Gospel, and find that it at least 
pre-supposes canonical Mark. The phrase, " Still 
current in the first half of the second centui-y," 
indicates that, in Dr. Drews's opinion, these derivative 
gospels were at least as old as year 100 ; in that case 
our canonical Gospels would fall well within the first. 
I will not press this point; but, anyhow, we note 
the admission that within about seventy years of 
the supposed date of Jesus's death Christiana were 
reading that mass of written tradition about him 
which we call the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, 
and John. They were also reading a mass of less 
accredited biographies — less trustworthy, no doubt, 
but, nevertheless, the work of authors who enter- 
tained no doubt that Jesus had really lived, and who 
wished to embellish his story. 

If, then, armed with such early records, we are yet 
so exacting of evidence as to deny that Jesus, their 
central figure, ever lived, what shall we say of other 
ancient worthies — of Solon, for example, the ancient 
Athenian legislator ? For his life our chief sources, 
as Grote remarks {History of Greece, Pt. II, ch. 11), 
are Plutarch and Diogenes, writers who lived seven 
and eight hundred years after him. Moreover, the 
stories of Plutarch about him are, as Grote says, 
" contradictory as well as apocryphal." It is true 



1 Op. oit. p. 214. 



HISTOEICAL METHOD 5 

that Herodotus repeats to us the story of Solon's 
travels, and of the conversations he held with Croesus, 
King of Lydia ; but these conversations are obviously 
mere romance. Herodotus, too, lived not seventy, 
but nearly one hundred and fifty years later than 
Solon, so that contemporary evidence of him we have 
none. Plutarch preserves, no doubt, various laws 
and metrical aphorisms which were in his day 
attributed to Solon, just as the Christians attributed 
an extensive body of teaching to Jesus. If we deny 
all authenticity to Jesus's teaching, what of Solon's 
traditional lore ? Obviously Jesus has a far larger 
chance to have really existed than Solon. 

And the same is true of Epimenides of Crete, who <"^ ^P'- 
was said to be the son of the nymph Balte ; to have 
been mysteriously fed by the nymphs, since he was 
never seen to eat, and so forth. He was known as 
the Purifier, and in that role healed the Athenians of 
plagues physical and spiritual. A poet and prophet 
he lived, according to some, for one hundred and 
fifty-four years ; according to his own countrymen, 
for three hundred. If he lived to the latter age, then 
Plato, who is the first to mention him in his Laws, 
was his contemporary, not otherwise. 

Pythagoras, again, can obviously never have lived °^^^^ ^^' 
at all, if we adopt the purist canons of Drews. For 
he was reputed, as Grote (Pt. II, ch. 37) reminds us, 
to have been inspired by the gods to reveal to men a 
new way of life, and found an order or brotherhood. 
He is barely mentioned by any writer before Plato, 
who flourished one hundred and fifty years later than 
he. In the matter of miracles, prophecy, pre-exist- 
ence, mystic observances, and asceticism, Pythagoras 
equalled, if he did not excel, Jesus. 



HISTOEICAL METHOD 



or Apol- 
lonius of 
Tyana 



Miracles 
do not 
wholly in- 
validate a 
document 



Apollonius of Tyana is another example. We 
have practically no record of him till one hundred 
and twenty years after his death, when the Sophist 
Philostratus took in hand to write his life, by his 
own account, with the aid of memorials left by Damis, 
a disciple of the sage. Apollonius, like Jesus and 
Pythagoras, was an incarnation of an earlier being ; 
he, too, worked miracles, and appeared after death to 
an incredulous follower, and ascended into heaven 
bodily. The stories of his miracles of healing, of his 
expulsions of demons, and raising of the dead, read 
exactly like chapters out of the Gospels. He, like 
Jesus and Pythagoras, had a god Proteus for his father, 
and was born of a virgin. His birth was marked in the 
heavens by meteoric portents. His history bristles 
with tales closely akin to those which were soon told 
of Jesus ; yet all sound scholars are agreed that his 
biographer did not imitate the Gospels, but wrote 
independently of them. If, then, Jesus never lived, 
much less can Apollonius have done so. Except for 
a passing reference in Lucian, Philostratus is our 
earliest authority for his reality ; the life written of 
him by Moeragenes is lost, and we do not know when 
it was written. On the whole, the historicity of Jesus 
is much better attested and documented than that of 
Apollonius, whose story is equally full of miracles 
with Christ's. 

The above examples suffice. But, with the aid of a 
good dictionary of antiquity, hundreds of others could 
be adduced of individuals for whose reality we have 
not a tithe of the evidence which we have for that of 
Jesus ; yet no one in his senses disputes their ever 
having lived. We take it for certain that hundreds — 
nay, thousands — of people who figure on the pages 



T 



HISTOEICAL METHOD 7 

of ancient and medieval history were real, and that, 

roughly speaking, they performed the actions attributed 

to them — this although the earliest notices of them are 

only met with in Plutarch, or Suidas, or William of 

Tyre, or other writers who wrote one hundred, two 

hundred, perhaps six hundred years after them. Nor 

are we deterred from believing that they really existed 

by the fact that, along with some things credible, 

other things wholly incredible are related of them. 

Throughout ancient history we must learn to pick 

and choose. The thesis, therefore, that Jesus never 

lived, but was from first to last a myth, presents itself 

at the outset as a paradox. Still, as it is seriously 

advanced, it must be seriously considered ; and that 

I now proceed to do. 

It can obviously not pass muster, unless its authors Proof of 

furnish us with a satisfactory explanation of every torj^iLof 

single notice, direct or indirect, simple or constructive, Jesus, how 

which ancient writers have transmitted to us. Each '^"^'"^ ^ 

notice must be separately examined, and if an 

evidential document be composite, every part of it. 

Each statement in its prima facie sense must be 

shown to be irreconcilable with what we know of the 

age and circumstances to which it pretends to relate. 

And in every case the new interpretation must be 

more cogent and more probable than the old one. 

Jesus, the real man, must be driven line by line, 

verse by verse, out of the whole of the New Testament, 

and after that out of other early sources which directly 

or by implication attest his historicity. There is no 

other way of proving so sweeping a negative as that 

of the three authors I have named. How to 

For every statement of fact in an ancient author is ^.pproach 

ancient 
a problem, and has to be accounted for. If it accords documents 



HISTOEICAL METHOD 



Value of 
several ia- 
dependent 
witnesses 
in case of 
Jesus 



with the context, and the entire body of statement 
agrees with the best scheme we can form in our 
mind's eye of the epoch, we accept it, just as we 
would the statement of a witness standing before us 
in a law court. If, on the other hand, the statement 
does not agree with our scheme, we ask why the 
author made it. If he obviously believed it, then 
how did his error arise ? If he should seem to have 
made it without himself believing it, then we ask, 
Why did he wish to deceive his reader ? Sometimes 
the only solution we can give of the matter is, that 
our author himself never penned the statement, but 
that someone covertly inserted it in his text, so that 
it might appear to have contained it. In such cases 
we must explain why and in whose interest the text 
was interpolated. In all history, of course, we never 
get a direct observation, or intuition, or hearing of 
what took place, for the photographic camera and 
phonograph did not exist in antiquity. We must rest 
content with the convictions and feelings of authors, 
as they put them down in books. To one circum- 
stance, however, amid so much dubiety, we shall 
attach supreme importance ; and that is to an affirma- 
tion of the same fact by two or more independent 
witnesses. One man may well be in error, and report 
to us what never occurred ; but it is in the last degree 
improbable that two or more independent witnesses 
will join forces in testifying to what never was. Let 
us, then, apply this principle to the problem before us. 
Jesus, our authors affirm, was not a real man, but an 
astral myth. Now we can conceive of one ancient 
writer mistaking such a myth for a real man ; but 
what if another and another witness, what if half a 
dozen or more come along, and, meeting us quite 



HISTOEICAL METHOD 9 

apart from one another and by different routes, often 
by pure accident, conspire in error. If we found 
ourselves in such case, would we not think we were 
bewitched, and take to our heels ? 

Well, I do not intend to take to my heels. I The oldest 
mean to stand up to the chimeras of Messrs. Drews, j^^out 
Eobertson, and Benjamin Smith. And the best Jesus 
courage is to take one by one the ancient sources 
which bear witness to the man Jesus, examine and 
compare them, and weigh their evidence. If they 
are independent, if they agree, not too much — that 
would excite a legitimate suspicion — but only more 
or less and in a general way, then, I believe, any 
rational inquirer would allow them weight, even if 
none were strictly contemporaries of his and eye- 
witnesses of his life. In the Gospel of Mark we 
have the earliest narrative document of the New 
Testament. This is evident from the circumstance 
that the three other evangelists used it in the com- 
position of their Gospels. Drews, indeed, admits it to 
be one of the " safest" results of modern discussion 
of the life of Jesus that this Gospel is the oldest of 
the surviving four. He is aware, of course, that this 
conclusion has been questioned ; but no one will 
doubt it who has confronted Mark in parallel columns The 
with Luke and Matthew, and noted how these other Mark\sed 
evangelists not only derive from it the order of the in Mat- 
events of the life of Jesus, but copy it out verse after L^j^e 
verse, each with occasional modifications of his own. 
Drews, however, while aware of this phenomenon, 
has yet not grasped the fact that it and nothing else 
has moved scholars to regard Mark as the most 
ancient of the three Synoptics ; quite erroneously, as 
if he had never read any work of modern textual 



10 HISTOEICAL METHOD 

criticism, he imagines that they are led to their 
conclusion, firstly by the superior freshness and 
vividness of Mark, by a picturesqueness which argues 
him to have been an eye-witness ; and, secondly, by 
the evidence of Papias, who, it is said, declared Mark 
to have been the interpreter of the Apostle Peter. 
In point of fact, the modern critical theologians, for 
whom Drews has so much contempt, attach no decisive 
weight in this connection either to the tradition pre- 
served by Papias or to the graphic qualities of Mark's 
narratives. They rest their case mainly on the internal 
evidence of the texts before them. 
Contents What, then, do we find in Mark's narrative ? 

Inasmuch as my readers can buy the book for a 
penny and study it for themselves, I may content 
myself with a very brief resume of its contents. 

It begins with an account of one John who preached 
round about Judaea, but especially on the Jordan, that 
the Jews must repent of their sins in order to their 
remission ; in token whereof he directed them to take 
a ritual bath in the sacred waters of the Jordan, just 
as a modern Hindoo washes away his sins by means 
of a ritual bath in the River Jumna. An old docu- 
ment generally called Q. (Quelle), because Luke and 
Matthew used it in common to supplement Mark's 
rather meagre story, adds the reason why the Jews 
were to repent ; and it was this, that the Kingdom of 
Drevvs's Heaven was at hand. Drews, in his first chapter of 
Messian-° ^'** Christ Myth, traces out the idea of this Kingdom 
ism of God, which he finds so prominent in the Jewish 

Apocalypties of the last century before and the first 
century after Christ, and attributes it to Persian and 
Mithraic influence. Mithras, he says, was to descend 
upon the earth, and in a last fierce struggle over- 



HISTOEICAL METHOD ' 11 

whelm Angromainyu or Ahriman and his hosts, and 
cast them down into the nether world. He would 
then raise the dead in bodily shape, and after a 
general judgment of the whole world, in which the 
wicked should be condemned to the punishments of 
hell and the good raised to heavenly glory, establish 
the "millennial kingdom." These ideas, he con- 
tinues, penetrated Jewish thought, and brought about 
a complete transformation of the former belief in a 
messiah, a Hebrew term meaning the anointed — in 
Greek Christos. For, to begin with, the Christ was 
merely the Jewish king who represented Jahwe 
before the people, and the people before Jahwe. He 
was " Son of Jahwe," or " Son of God " par excellence ; 
later on the name came to symbolize the ideal king 
to come — this when the Israelites lost their indepen- 
dence, and were humiliated by falling under a foreign 
yoke. This ideal longed-for king was to win Jahwe's 
favour ; and by his heroic deeds, transcending those 
of Moses and Joshua of old, to re-establish the glory 
of Israel, renovate the face of the earth, and even 
make Israel Lord over all nations. But so far the 
Messiah was only a human being, a new David or 
descendant of David, a theocratic king, a divinely 
favoured prince of peace, a just ruler over the people 
he liberated ; and in this sense Cyrus, who delivered 
the Jews from the Babylonian captivity, the rescuer 
and overlord of Israel, had been acclaimed Messiah. 

At last and gradually — still under Persian influence, 
according to Drews — this figure assumed divine attri- 
butes, yet without forfeiting human ones. Secret and 
supernatural as was his nature, so should the birth 
of the Messiah be ; though a divine child, he was to 
be born in lowly state. Nay, the personality of the 



12 HISTOEICAL METHOD 

Messiah eventually mingled with that of Jahwe 
himself, whose son he was. Such, according to 
Drews, were the alternations of the Messiah between 
a human and a divine nature in Jewish apocalypses 
of the period b.c. 100 to a.d. 100. They obviously do 
not preclude the possibility of the Jews in that epoch 
acclaiming a man as their Messiah — indeed, there is 
no reason why they should not have attached the 
dignity to several ; and from sources which Drews 
does not dispute we learn that they actually 
did so. 
John and Let US return to Mark's narrative. Among the 
Jesus Jews who came to John to confess and repent of 

began as 

messen- their sins, and wash them away in the Jordan, was 

dfin"* *^ one named Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee ; and he, 
kingdom as soon as John was imprisoned and murdered by 
on earth jjerod, caught up the lamp, if I may use a metaphor, 
which had fallen from the hands of the stricken saint, 
and hurried on with it to the same goal. We read 
that he went to Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, 
and saying: " The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom 
of God is at hand ; repent ye, and believe in the 
gospel or good tidings." 

The rest of Mark is a narrative of what happened 

to Jesus on this self-appointed errand. We learn 

that he soon made many recruits, from among whom 

he chose a dozen as his particular missionaries or 

apostles. These, after no long time, he despatched 

Jesus's on peculiar beats of their own. He was certain that 

rions'oHts *^^ kingdom was not to be long delayed, and on 

speedy occasions assured his audience that it would come in 

advent ^j^g-j. ^j^jg^ When he was sending out his' missionary 

disciples, he even expressed to them his doubts as 

to whether it would not come even before they had 



HISTOEICAL METHOD 13 

had time to go round the cities of Israel. It was He con- 
not, however, this consideration, but the instinct of promises 
exclusiveness, which he shared with most of his race, to Jews 
that led him to warn them against carrying the 
good tidings of the impending salvation of Israel to 
Samaritans or Gentiles ; the promises were not for 
schismatics and heathens, but only for the lost sheep 
of the house of Israel. Some of these details are 
derived not from Mark, but from the document out 
of which, as I remarked above, the first and second 
evangelists supplemented Mark. 

Like Luther, Loyola, Dunstan, St. Anthony, and Y^tg^^^v 
many other famous saints and sinners, Jesus, on the Ws own 
threshold of his career, encountered Satan, and over- 1''°"'^^^ 
threw him. A characteristically oriental fast of forty 
days in the wilderness equipped him for this feat. 
Thenceforth he displayed, like Apollonius of Tyana 
and not a few contemporary rabbis, considerable 
familiarity with the demons of disease and madness. 
The sick flocked to him to be healed, and it was only 
in districts where people disbelieved in him and his 
message that his therapeutic energy met with a cheek. 
Among those who particularly flouted his pretensions 
were his mother and brethren, who on one occasion 
at least followed him in order to arrest him and put 
him under restraint as being beside himself or exalte. 
A good many parables are attributed to him in this His Para- 
Gospel, and yet more in Matthew and Luke, of which 4^.^ (,„ 
the burden usually is the near approach of the dis- the coming 
solution of this world and of the last Judgment, which 
are to usher in the Kingdom of God on earth. We 
learn that the parable was his favourite mode of 
instruction, as it always has been and still is the th°eearUest 
chosen vehicle of Semitic moral teaching. Of the sources of 



14 



HISTOEICAL METHOD 



the mirac- 
ulous birth 
of Jesus 



Late re- 
cognition 
of Jesus 
as himself 
the Mes- 
siah 



His hopes 
shattered 
at ap- 
proach of 
death 



later legend of his supernatural birth, and of the 
visits before his birth of angels to Mary, his mother, 
and to Joseph, his putative father, of the portents 
subsequently related in connection with his birth at 
Bethlehem, there is not a word either in Mark or in 
the other early document out of which Matthew and 
Luke supplemented Mark. In these earliest docu- 
ments Jesus is presented quite naturally as the son 
of Joseph and his wife Mary, and we learn quite 
incidentally the names of his brothers and sisters. 

Towards the middle of his career J"esUs seems to 
have been recognized by Peter as the Son of God or 
Messiah. Whether he put himself forward for that 
role we cannot be sure ; but so certain were his 
Apostles of the matter that two of them are repre- 
sented as having asked him in the naivest way to 
grant them seats of honour on his left and right 
hand, when he should come in glory to judge the 
world. The Twelve expected to sit on thrones and 
judge the twelve tribes of Israel, and this idea meets 
us afresh in the Apocalypse, a document which in the 
form we have it belongs to the years 92-93. 

But the simple faith of the Apostles in their 
teacher and leader was to receive a rude shock. 
They accompany him for the Passover to Jerusalem. 
An insignificant triumphal demonstration is organized 
for him as he enters the sacred city on an ass ; he 
beards the priests in the temple, and scatters the 
money-changers who sat there to change sti-ange 
coins for pilgrims. The priests, who, like many 
others of their kind, were much too comfortable to 
sigh for the end of the world, and regarded enthusiasts 
as nuisances, took offence, denounced him to Pilate as 
a rebel and a danger to the Roman government of 



HISTOEICAL METHOD * 15 

Judffia. He is arrested, condemned to be crucified, 
and as he hangs on the cross in a last naoment of 
disillusionment utters that most pathetic of cries : 
"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" 
He had expected to witness the descent of the 
kingdom on earth, but instead thereof he is him- 
self handed over helpless into the hands of the 
Gentiles. 

Such in outline is the story Mark has to tell. The 
rival and supplementary document of which I have 
spoken, and which admits of some reconstruction 
from the text of Matthew and Luke, consisted mainly 
of parables and precepts which Jesus was supposed to 
have delivered. It need not engage our attention 
here. 

Now the three writers I have named — Messrs. The myth- 
Drews, Kobertson, and W. B. Smith— enjoy the o^jesuT'^ 
singular good fortune to be the first to have dis- 
covered what the above narratives really mean, and 
of how they originated ; and they are urgent that we 
should sell all we have, and purchase their pearl of 
wisdom. They assure us that in the Gospels we 
have not got any " tradition of a personality." Jesus, 
the central figure, never existed at all, but was a 
purely mythical personage. The mythical character 
of the Gospels, so Drews assures us, has, in the hands 
of Mr. J. M. Robertson, led the way, and made a 
considerable advance in England ; he regrets that so 
far official learning in Germany has not taken up 
a serious position regarding the mythic symbolical 
interpretation of the latter.^ Let us then ask, What 

1 The Christ Myth, p. 9. (Zu Robertson hat sie meines Wissens 
noch keiner Weise ernsthaft Stellung genommen, p. vii of German 
edition.) 



16 HISTOEICAL METHOD 

is the gist of the new system of interpretation. It is 
as follows : — 
Joshua Jesus, or Joshua, was the name under which the 

a Sun-god, expected Messiah was honoured in a certain Jewish 
secret onU ^^^^'^t society which had its headquarters in Jerusalem 
about the beginning of our era. In view of its secret 
character Drews warns us not to be too curious, nor 
to question either his information or that of Messrs. 
Smith and Robertson. This recalls to me an incident 
in my own experience. I was once, together with a little 
girl, being taken for a sail by an old sailor who had 
many yarns. One of the most circumstantial of them 
was about a ship which went down in mid ocean with 
all hands aboard ; and it wound up with the remark : 
"And nobody never knew nothing about it." Little 
girl : " Then how did you come to hear all about it ? " 
Like our brave old sailor, Dr. Drews warns us (p. 22) 
not to be too inquisitive. We must not " forget that 
we are dealing with a secret cult, the existence of 
which we can decide upon only by indirect means." 
His hypothesis, he tells us, " can only be rejected 
without more ado by such as seek the traces of the 
pre-Christian cult of Jesus in well-worn places, and 
will only allow that to be ' proved ' which they have 
established by direct original documentary evidence 
before their eyes." In other words, we are to set 
aside our copious and almost (in Paul's case) con- 
temporary evidence that Jesus was a real person in 
favour of a hypothesis which from the first and as 
such lacks all direct and documentary evidence, and 
is not amenable to any of the methods of proof recog- 
nized by sober historians. We must take Dr. Drews's 
word for it, and forego all evidence. 

But let our authors continue with their new revela- 



HISTOEICAL METHOD 17 

tion. By Joshua, or Jesus, we are not to understand 
the personage concerning whose exploits the Book of 
Joshua was composed, but a Sun-god. The Gospels 
are a veiled account of the sufferings and exploits 
of this Sun-god. "Joshua is apparently [why this 
qualification ?] an ancient Ephraimitic god of the Sun 
and Fruitfulness, who stood in close relation to the 
Feast of the Pasch and to the custom of circum- 
cision."^ 

Now no one nowadays accepts the Book of Joshua Emptiness 
offhand as sound history. It is a compilation of older god Joshua 
sources, which have already been sifted a good deal, •lypo't'esis 
and will undergo yet more sifting in the future. The 
question before us does not concern its historicity, 
but is this : Does the Book of Joshua, whether history 
or not, support the hypothesis that Joshua was ever 
regarded as God of the Sun and of Fruitfulness ? Was 
ever such a god known of or worshipped in the tribe 
of Ephraim or in Israel at large ? In this old Hebrew 
epic or saga Joshua is a man of flesh and blood. 
How did these gentlemen get it into their heads that 
he was a Sun-god ? For this statement there is not 
a shadow of evidence. They have invented it. As 
he took the Israelites dryshod over the Jordan, why 
have they not made a Eiver-god of him ? And as, 
according to Drews, he was so interested in fruitful- 
ness and foreskins, why not suppose he was a Priapic 
god? They are much too modest. We should at 
least expect " the composite myth " to include this 
element, inasmuch as his mystic votaries at Jeru- 



' Christ Myth, p. 57. In the German text (first ed. 1909, p. 21) 
Mr. Robertson is the authority for this statement (so hat Robertson 
es sehr wahrscheinlich gemacht). 

C 



18 HISTORICAL METHOD 

salem were far from seeing eye to eye with Paul in 
the matter of circumcision. 
The Sun- There was years ago a stage in the Comparative 
of com- History of Religions when the Sun-myth hypothesis 
parative ^as invoked to explain almost everything. The shirt 
of Nessus, for example, in which Heracles perished, 
was a parable of the sun setting amidst a wrack of 
scattered clouds. The Sun-myth was the key which 
fitted every lock, and was employed unsparingly by 
pioneers of comparative mythology like F. Max Miiller 
and Sir George Cox. It was taken for granted that 
early man must have begun by deifying the great 
cosmic powers, by venerating Sun and Moon, the 
Heavens, the Mountains, the Sea, as holy and divine 
beings, because they, rather than humble and homelier 
objects, impress us moderns by their sublimity and 
overwhelming force. Man was supposed from the 
first to have felt his transitoriness, his frailty and 
weakness, and to have contrasted therewith the 
infinities of space and time, the majesty of the 
starry hosts of heaven, the majestic and uniform 
march of sun and moon, the mighty rumble of the 
thunder. Max Miiller thought that religion began 
when the cowering savage was crushed by awe of 
nature and of her stupendous forces, by the infinite 
lapses of time, by the yawning abysses of space. As 
a matter of fact, savages do not entertain these 
sentiments of the dignity and majesty of nature. 
On the contrary, a primitive man thinks that he can 
impose his paltry will on the elements ; that he knows 
how to unchain the wind, to oblige the rain to fall ; 
that he can, like the ancient witches of Thessaly, 
control sun and moon and stars by all sorts of petty 
magical rites, incantations, and gestures, as Joshua 



HISTOEICAL METHOD 19 

made the sun stand still till his band of brigands had 
won the battle. It is to the imagination of us moderns 
alone that the grandeur of the universe appeals, and 
it was relatively late in the history of religion — 
so far as it can be reconstructed from the scanty 
data in our possession — that the higher nature cults 
were developed. The gods and sacred beings of an 
Australian or North American native are the humble 
vegetables and animals which surround him, objects 
with which he is on a footing of equality. His totems 
are a duck, a hare, a kangaroo, an emu, a lizard, a 
grub, or a frog. In the same way, the sacred being 
of an early Semite's devotion was just as likely to be 
a pig or a hare as the sun in heaven ; the cult of an 
early Egyptian was centred upon a crocodile, or a 
cat, or a dog.^ In view of these considerations, our 
suspicion is aroused at the outset by finding Messrs. 
Drews and Robertson to be in this discarded and 
obsolete Sun-myth stage of speculation. They are a 
back number. Let us, however, examine their mythic 
symbolic theory a little further, and see what sort of 
arguments they invoke in favour of it, and what their 
" indirect " proofs amount to. 

Why was Jesus buried in a rock-tomb ? asks Mr. Examples 
Robertson. Answer : Because he was Mithras, the god theory 
rock-born Sun-god. We would like to know what of Jesus, 
other sort of burial was possible round Jerusalem, Tomb 
where soil was so scarce that everyone was buried in 
a roek-tomb. Scores of such tombs remain. Are 
they all Mithraic? Surely a score of other con- 
siderations would equally well explain the choice of 
a rock-tomb for him in Christian tradition. 

^ Cp. Emile Darkheim, La Vie Religieuse, Paris, 1912, p. 121, to 
whom I owe much in the text. 



20 HISTOEICAL METHOD 

_, ,^ Why was Jesus born at the winter-solstice? Answer: 

The date -o , o j 

of birthday rSecause he was a Sun-god. 

Our author forgets that the choice of December 25 

for the feast of the physical birth of Jesus was made 

by the Church as late as 354 a.d. What could the 

cryptic Messianists of the first half of the first century 

know about a festival which was never heard of in 

Eome until the year 354, nor accepted in Jerusalem 

before the year 440 ? Time is evidently no element 

in the calculations of these authors ; and they commit 

themselves to the most amazing anachronisms with 

the utmost insouciance, or, shall we not rather say, 

ignorance ; unless, indeed, they imagine that the 

mystic worshippers of the God Joshua knew all about 

the date, but kept it dark in order to mystify all 

succeeding generations. 

The Why did Jesus surround himself with twelve dis- 

twelve . 

disciples ciples ? Answer : Because they were the twelve signs 

of the Zodiac and he a Sun-god. We naturally ask, 

Were the twelve tribes of Israel equally representative 

of the Zodiac ? In any case, may not Christian story 

have fixed the number of Apostles at twelve in view 

of the tribes being twelve ? It is superfluous to go as 

far as the Zodiac for an explanation. 

The -V^Thy (jid Jesus preach his sermon on the Mount ? 

Sermon on , •'_, '^ ^ -,,,,,,,,. 

the Mount Answer : Because as Sun-god he had to take his stand 

on the " pillar of the world." In the same way, Moses, 

another Sun-god, gave his law from the Mount. 

I always have heard that Moses got his tables of 

the law up top of a mountain, and brought them down 

to a people that were forbidden to approach it. He 

did not stand up top, and shout out his laws to them, 

as Mr. Robertson suggests. In any case, we merely 

read in Matthew v that Jesus went up into a 



HISTOEICAL METHOD 21 

mountain or upland region, and when he had sat 
down his disciples came to him, and he then opened 
his mouth and taught them. In a country like 
Galilee, where you can barely walk a mile in any 
direction without climbing a hill, what could be more 
natural than for a narrator to frame such a setting 
for the teacher's discourse? It is the first rule of 
criticism to practise some economy of hypothesis, 
and not go roaming after fanciful and extravagant 
interpretations of quite commonplace and every-day 
occurrences. 

Why was it believed that Jesus was to judge men The last 
after death ? Answer : Because he was a Sun-god, "' ^"^^ 
and pro tanto identical with Osiris. 

Surely the more natural interpretation is that, so 
soon as Jesus was identified in the minds of his 
followers with the Messiah or Christ, the task of 
judging Israel was passed on to him as part of the 
role. Thus in the Psalms of Solomon, a Jewish 
apocryph of about b.c. 50, we read that the Messiah 
will " in the assemblies judge the peoples, the tribes 
of the sanctified" (xvii, 48). Such references could 
be multiplied ; are they all Osirian ? If Mr. Robertson 
had paid a little more attention to the later apocrypha 
of Judaism, and made himself a little better acquainted 
with the social and religious medium which gave birth 
to Christianity, he would have realized how unneces- 
sary are these Sun-mythic hypotheses, and we should 
have been spared his books. 

Why is Jesus represented in art and lore by the The Lamb 
Lamb and the Fishes ? Answer : As a Sun-god gymbof- 
passing through the Zodiac. ism 

This is amazing. We know the reason why Jesua 
was figured as a Lamb by the early Christians. It 



22 HISTOEICAL METHOD 

was because they regarded the paschal lamb as a 
type of him. Does Mr. Kobertson claim to know the 
reasons of their symbolism better than they did 
themselves ? 

And where did he discover that Jesus was repre- 
sented as Fishes in Art and Lore ? He was symbolized 
as one fish, not as several; and TertuUian has told 
us why. It was because, according to the popular 
zoology of the day, fishes were supposed to be born 
and to originate in the water, without carnal con- 
nection between their parents. For this reason the 
fish was taken as a symbol of Jesus, who was born 
again in the waters of the Jordan. A later generation 
explained the appellation of tx^^c {ichthus), or Fish, 
as an acrostic. The letters of the Greek word are the 
initials of the words : lesous Christos Theou uios soter 
— i.e., Jesus Christ of God Son, Saviour ; but this 
later explanation came into vogue in an age when it 
was already heretical to say that Jesus was reborn 
in baptism ; nor does it explain why the multitude 
of the baptized were symbolized as little fishes in 
contrast with the Big Fish, Christ. 
The two Why did Jesus ride into Jerusalem before his death 

on two asses ? Answer : Because Dionysus also rides 
on an ass and a foal in one of the Greek signs of 
Cancer (the turning point in the sun's course). 
" Bacchus (p. 287) crossed a marsh on two asses." 

Mr. Robertson does not attempt to prove that the 
earliest Christians, who were Jews, must have been 
familiar with the rare legend of Bacchus crossing a 
marsh on two asses; still less with the rare repre- 
sentation of the zodiacal sign Cancer as an ass and 
its foal. It is next to impossible ; and, even if they 
were, what induced them to transform the myth into 



asses 



HISTOEICAL METHOD ' 23 

the legend of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on two 
donkeys at once ? If they had so excellent a legend 
of Bacchus on his asses crossing a marsh, why not 
be content with it ? And the same question may be 
asked in regard to all the other transformations by 
which these " mystic sectaries," who formed the early 
Church, changed myths culled from all times and all 
religions and races into a connected story of Jesus, as 
it lies before us in the Synoptic Gospels. 

Mr. Robertson disdains any critical and comparative 
study of the Gospels, and insists on regarding them 
as coeval and independent documents. Everything 
inside the covers of the New Testament is for him, 
as for the Sunday-school teacher, on one dead level 
of importance. All textual criticism has passed over 
his head. He has never learned to look in Mark for 
the original form of a statement which Luke or 
Matthew copied out, and in transferring them to 
their Gospels scrupled not to alter or modify. 
Accordingly, to suit the exigencies of his theory 
that the Gospels are an allegory of a Sun-god's 
exploits, he here claims to find the original text not 
in Mark, but in Matthew ; as if a transcript and 
paraphrase could possibly be prior to, and more 
authoritative than, the text transcribed and brode. 
Accordingly, he writes (p. 339) as follows : " In 
Mark xi and Luke xix, 30, the two asses become 

one In the Fourth Gospel, again, we have simply 

the colt." And yet by all rules of textual criticism 
and of common sense the underlying and original text 
is Mark xi, 1-7. In it the disciples merely bring a 
colt which they had found tied at a door. The author 
of the Gospel called of Matthew, eager to discern in 
every incident, no matter how commonplace, which 



24 HISTORICAL METHOD 

he found in Mark, a fulfilment of some prophecy, or 
another, drags in a tag of Zechariah : " Behold, the 
King cometh to thee, meek, and riding on an ass and 
upon a colt, the foal of an ass." Then, to make the 
story told of Jesus run on all fours with the prophecy, 
he writes that the disciples " brought the ass and the 
colt, and put on them their garments, and he (Jesus) 
sat on them." He was unacquainted with Hebrew 
idiom, and so not aware that the words, " a colt the 
foal of an ass," are no more than a rhetorical 
reduplication^ of an ass. There was, then, but one 
animal in the original form of the story, and, as the 
French say, it saute aux yeux that the importation of 
two is due to the influence of the prophecy on the 
mind of the transcriber. Why, therefore, go out of the 
way to attribute the tale to the influence of a legend 
of Bacchus, so multiplying empty hypotheses ? Mr. 
Kobertson, with hopeless perversity, takes Dr. Percy 
Gardner to task for repeating what he calls " the 
fallacious explanation, that ' an ass and the foal of 



' Such reduplications are common in Semitic languages, and in 
John xix, 23, 24, we have an exact analogy with this passage of 
Matthew. In Psalm xxii, 19, we read: "They parted my garments 
among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots." Here one and 
the same incident is contemplated in both halves of the verse, and it 
is but a single garment that is divided. Now see what John makes 
out of this verse, regarded as a prophecy of Jesus. He pretends that 
the soldiers took Jesus's garments, and made four parts, to every 
soldier a part, so fulfilling the words : " They parted my garments 
among them." Next they took the coat without seam, and said to 
one another : " Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall 
be. " The parallel with Matthew is exact. In each case what is mere 
rhetorical reduplication is interpreted of two distinct objects, and on 
this misinterpretation is based a fulfilment of prophecy, and out of 
it generated a new form of a story or a fresh story altogether. In 
defiance of the opinion of competent Hebraists, Mr. Kobercson writes 
(p. 338) that " there is no other instance of such a peculiar tautology 
in the Old Testament." On the contrary, the Old Testament teems 
with them. 



HISTORICAL METHOD 25 

an ass ' represents a Greek misconception of the 

Hebrew way of saying ' an ass,' as if Hebrews in 

every-day life lay under a special spell of verbal 

absurdity."^ But did Hebrews in every-day life Jewish ab- 

mould their ideas of the promised Messiah on out- of'?agan 

of-the-way legends of Bacchus ? Were they likely to myths 

fashion a tale of a Messianic triumph out of Gentile 

myths ? Do we not know from a hundred sources 

that the Jews of that age, and the Christians who 

were in this matter their pupils, abhorred everything 

that savoured of Paganism. They were the last 

people in the world to construct a life of the Messiah 

out of the myths of Bacchus, and Hermes, and Osiris, 

and Heracles, and the fifty other heathen gods and 

heroes whom Mr. Robertson rolls up into what he 

calls the " composite myth " of the Gospels. But let 

us return to his criticism of Dr. Gardner. Why, it 

may be asked, was it a priori more absurd of Matthew 

to turn one ass into two in deference to Hebrew 

prophecy, than for Hebrews to set their Messiah 

riding into the holy city on two asses in deference 

to a myth of Bacchus crossing a marsh on two 

of them ? Is it not Mr. Robertson, rather than 

Dr. Gardner, who here lies under a special spell of Robertson 

absurdity? "A glance at the story of Bacchus," alrfner 

writes Mr. Robertson, " crossing a marsh on two and 

asses would have shown him that he was dealing ^^^^^ ^'^ 

with a zodiacal myth." The boot is on the other 
foot. Had Mr. Robertson chosen to glance at the 
Poeticon Astronomicon of Hyginus, a late and some- 
what worthless Latin author, who is the authority for 
this particular tale of Bacchus, he would have read 

' Christianity and Mythology, p. 286. 



26 HISTOEICAL METHOD 

(ii, 23) how Liber {i.e., Dionysus) was on his way to 
get an oracle at Dodona which might restore his lost 
sanity : Sed cum venisset ad quandam palitdem rnagnam, 
quam transire non posset, de quibusdam duobus asellis 
obviis factis dicitur unwn deprehendisse eoruin, et ita 
esse transvectus, ut omnino aquam non tetigerit. 

In English: "But when he came to a certain 
spacious marsh, which he thought he could not get 
across, he is said to have met on the way two young 
asses, of which he caught one, and he was carried 
across on it so nicely that he never touched the water 
at all." 

Here there is no hint of Bacchus riding on two 
asses, and Mr. Robertson's entire hypothesis falls to 
the ground like a house of cards. The astounding 
thing is that, although he insists on pages 287 
and 453^ that Bacchus rode on two asses, and that 
here is the true Babylonian explanation of Jesus 
also riding on two, he gets the Greek, or rather 
Latin, myth right on p. 339, and recognizes that 
Dionysus was only mounted on one of the asses 
when he passed the morass or river on his way to 
Dodona. Thus, by Mr. Robertson's own admission, 
Bacchus never rode on two asses at all. 
^l^tv,^^'*^'® Why was Jesus crucified by Pilate ? For an answer 
to this let us for a little quit " the very stimulating 
and informing works," as Dr. Drews calls them, of 
Mr. Robertson, and turn to Dr. Drews's own work on 
The Witnesses to the Historicity of Jesus. ^ For there 
we find the true " astral myth interpretation " in all 

1 Dr. Carpenter had objected that " It has first to be proved that 
Dionysos rode on two asses, as well as that Jesus is the Sun-God." 
Mr. Robertson complacently answers (p. 453) : " My references 
perfectly prove the currency of the myth in question " ! 

'^ The Witnesses, p. 55 (p. 75 of German edition). 



myth 



HISTOEICAL METHOD 27 

its glory. The Pilate of Christian legend was, so we 
learn, not originally an historical person at all ; the 
whole story of Christ is to be taken in an astral 
sense ; and Pilate in particular represents the story 
of Orion, the javelin-man (Pilatus), with the Arrow 
or Lance constellation (Sagitta), which is supposed to 
be very long in the Greek myth, and reappears in the 

Christian legend under the name of Longinus In 

the astral myth the Christ hanging on the cross or 
world-tree {i.e., the Milky Way) is killed by the lance 

of Pilatus The Christian population of Rome told 

the legend of a javelin-man, a Pilatus, who was 
supposed to have been responsible for the death of 
the Saviour. Tacitus heard the myth repeated, and, 
like the fool he was, took it that Pilate the javelin- 
man was no other than Pilate the Roman procurator 
of Judaea under Tiberius, who must have been known 
to him from the books of Josephus.^ Accordingly, 
Tacitus sat down and penned his account of the 
wholesale massacre and burning of Christians by 
Nero in the fifteenth book of his Annals. 

We shall turn to the evidence of Tacitus later on. 
Meanwhile it is pertinent to ask where the myth of 
Pilatus, of which Drews here makes use, came from. 
The English text of Drews is somewhat confused ; but 
presumedly Orion, with his girdle sword and lion's 
skin, is no other than Pilatus ; and his long lance, 
with which he kills Christ, further entitles him to 
the name of Longinus. Or is it Pilatus who stabs 



■■ Why necessarily from Josephus ? Were not other sources of 
recent Eoman history available for Tacitus ? Here peeps out 
Dr. Drews's conviction that the whole of ancient literature lies 
before him, and that even Tacitus could have no other sources of 
information than Dr. Drews. 



28 HISTORICAL METHOD 

Orion ? It does not matter. Let us test this 
hypothesis in its essential parts. 
The Firstly, then, Longinus was the name coined by 

Longinus Qfj^istian legend-mongers of the third or fourth 
century for the centurion who stabbed Jesus with a 
lance as he hung on the cross. How could so late a 
myth influence or form part of a tradition three 
centuries older than itself ? The incident of the 
lance being plunged into the side of Jesus is related 
only in the Fourth Gospel, and is not found in the 
earlier ones. The author of that Gospel invented it 
in order to prove to his generation that Jesus had 
real blood in his body, and was not, as the Docetes 
maintained, a phantasm mimicking reality to the ears 
and eyes alone of those who saw and conversed with 
him. This Gospel, even according to the Christian 
tradition of its date, is barely earlier than a.d. 100, 
and the name Longinus was not heard of before 
A.D. 250 at the earliest. Yet Drews is ready to believe 
that it was on the lips of Christians in the reign of 
Nero, say in a.d. 64. 

Secondly, what evidence is there that Pilatus could 
mean the "javelin-man" for the earliest generations 
of Roman Christians ? The language current among 
them was Greek, not Latin, as the earliest Christian 
inscriptions in the catacombs of Rome testify. The 
language of Roman rites and popes remained Greek 
for three centuries. Why, then, should they have had 
their central myth of the crucifixion in a Latin form ? 
Thirdly, what evidence is there that Pilatus could 
mean a javelin-man even to a Latin? Many lexico- 
graphers interpret it in Virgil in the sense of packed 
together or dense, and in most authors it bears the 
sense of bald or despoiled. 



HISTOEICAL METHOD 29 

But, letting that pass, we ask what evidence is i°ade- 
there that Orion ever had the epithet Pilatus in this the mythic 
sense ? What evidence that such a myth ever existed 'iieory 
at all ? There is none, absolutely none. It is not 
enough for these authors to ransack Lempriere and 
other dictionaries of mythology in behalf of their 
paradoxes ; but when these collections fail them, 
they proceed to coin myths of their own, and pretend 
that they are ancient, that the early Christians 
believed in them, and that Tacitus fell into the trap ; 
as if these Christians, whom they acknowledge to 
have been either Jews or the converts of Jews, had 
not been constitutionally opposed to all pagan myths 
and cults alike ; as if a good half of the earliest 
Christian literature did not consist of polemics 
against the pagan myths, which were regarded with 
the bitterest scorn and abhorrence ; as if it were not 
notorious that it was their repugnance to and ridicule 
of pagan gods and heroes and religious myths that 
earned for the Christians, as for the Jews, their 
teachers, the hatred and loathing of the pagan popu- 
lations in whose midst they lived. And yet we are 
asked to believe that the Christian Church, almost 
before it was separated from the Jewish matrix, 
fashioned for itself in the form of the Gospels an 
allegory of a Sun-god Joshua, who, though unknown 
to serious Semitic scholars, is yet so well known to 
Mr. Robertson and his friends that he identifies him 
with Adonis, and Osiris, and Dionysus, and Mithras, 
and Krishna, and Asclepius, and with any other 
god or demi-god that comes to hand in Lempriere's 
dictionary. After hundreds of pages of such fanciful 
writing, Drews warns us in solemn language against 
the attempts " of historical theologians to reach the 



30 



HISTOEIOAL METHOD 



Joshua the 

Sun-god 

a pure 

invention 

of the 

mythic 

school 



nucleus of the Gospels by purely philological means." 
The attempt, he declares, is " hopeless, and must 
remain hopeless, because the Gospel tradition floats 
in the air." One would like to know in what medium 
his own hypotheses float. Like Dr. Drews, Mr. 
Eobertson adopts the Joshua myth as if it were 
beyond question. His faith in " the ancient Pales- 
tinian Saviour-Sun-God " is absolute. This otherwise 
unknown deity was the core of what is gracefully 
styled " the Jesuist myth." On examination, how- 
ever, the Joshua Sun-god turns out to be the most 
rickety of hypotheses. Because the chieftain who, in 
old tradition, led the Jews across the Jordan into the 
land of promise was named Joshua, certain critics, 
who are still in the sun-myth phase of comparative 
mythology — in particular, Stade and Winckler — have 
conjectured that the name Joshua conceals a solar 
hero worshipped locally by the tribe of Ephraim. 
Even if there ever existed such a cult, it had long 
vanished when the book of Joshua was compiled ; for 
in this he is no longer represented as a solar hero, 
but has become in the popular tradition a human 
figure, a hero judge, and leader of the armies of 
Israel. Of a Joshua cult the book does not preserve 
any trace or memory ; that it ever existed is an 
improbable and unverifiable hypothesis. We might 
just as well conjecture that Romulus, and Remus, 
and other half or wholly legendary figures of ancient 
history, were sun-gods and divine saviours. But it is 
particularly in Jewish history that this school is apt 
to revel. Moses, and Joseph, and David were all 
mythical beings brought down to earth ; and the god 
David and the god Joshua, the god Moses, the god 
Joseph, form in the imagination of these gentlemen 



HISTORICAL METHOD ' 31 

a regular Hebrew prehistoric Pantheon. I say in 
their imagination, for it is certain that when the 
Pentateuch was compiled — at the latest in the fifth 
century b.c. — the Jews no longer revered David, and 
Joshua, and Joseph as sun-gods ; while of what they 
worshipped even locally before that date we have little 
knowledge, and can form only conjectures. In any 
case, that they continued to worship a sun-god under 
the name of Joshua as late as the first century of our 
era must strike anyone who has the least knowledge 
of Hebrew religious development, who has ever read 
Philo or Josephus, or studied Jewish sapiential and 
apocalyptic literature of the period b.c. 200-a.d. 100, Supposed 
as a wildly improbable supposition. Sensible that secrecy of 
their hypothesis conflicts with all we know about the christian 
Jews of these three centuries, these three authors <=ultaliter- 

ary trick 

— Messrs. Drews, Robertson, and W. B. Smith — 
insist on the esoterism and secrecy of the cryptic 
society which in Jerusalem harboured the cult. This 
commonest of literary tricks enables them to evade 
any awkward questions, and whenever they are 
challenged to produce some evidence of the existence 
of such a cult they can answer that, being secret and 
esoteric, it could leave little or no evidence of itself, 
and that we must take their ipse dixit and renounce 
all hope of direct and documentary evidence. They 
ask of us a greater credulity than any Pope of Rome 
ever demanded. 

The divine stage of Joshua, then, if it ever existed, Joshuaben 
was past and forgotten as early as 500 b.c. It has also a Sun- 
left no traces. Of the other Joshuas, who meet us in e°^ 
the pages of the Jewish scriptures, the most important 
one is Jeshua or Joshua ben Jehozadak, a high priest 
who, together with Zerubbabel, is often mentioned 



32 HISTOEICAL METHOD 

(according to the Encyclopedia Bihlica) in contem- 
porary writings. Not only, then, have we contemporary 
evidence of this Joshua as of a mere man and a priest, 
but we know from it that he stooped to such mundane 
occupations as the rebuilding of the Temple. He 
also had human descendants, who are traced in 
Xehemiah xii, 10 fol. down to Jaddua. Of this epoch 
of Jewish history, in which the Temple was being 
rebuilt, we have among the Jewish and Aramaic 
papyri lately recovered at Elephantine documents 
that are autographs of personages with whom this 
Joshua may well have been in contact. His contem- 
poraries are mentioned and even addressed in these 
documents, so that he and his circle are virtually as 
well evidenced for us as Frederick the Great and 
Yoltaire. Is it credible in the face of such facts that 
the authors we are criticizing should turn this Joshua, 
too, iuto a solar god? Yet Drews turns with zest 
to the notice of this Joshua, the high priest in 
Zechariah iii, as " one of the many signs "' which 
attest that " Joshua or Jesus was the name under 
which the expected Messiah was honoured in certain 
Jewish sects." Unless he regards this later Joshua 
also as a divine figure, and no mere man of flesh and 
blood, why does he thus drag him into his argument ? 
The sns- 'Bxi.t, after all, Messrs. Drews and Robertson are 
the com- tmeasy about the book of Joshua, and not altogether 
'^h^w capable of the breezy optimism of their instructor, 
Testament Mr. W. B. Smith, who, in Ecce Deus (p. 74^, commits 
barked himself to the nsuve declaration that, " even if we 

evidence 

iaTonrabie had no evidence whatever of a pre-Christian Jesus 

to the Sun- g^jj^ ^g should be compelled to affirm its existence 

hypothesis with undiminished decision." Accordingly, they both 

go out of their way to hint that the ancient Jews 



HISTOEICAL METHOD * 33 

suppressed the facts of the Joshua or Jesus Sun-God- 
Saviour cult. Thus Mr. Eobertson {Christianity and 
Mythology, p. 99, note 1), after urging us to accept a 
late and worthless tradition about Joshua, the Son 
of Nave, remarks that " the Jewish books would 
naturally drop the subject." How ill-natured, to be 
sure, of the authors of the old Hebrew scriptures to 
suppress evidence that would have come in so handy 
for Mr. Robertson's speculations. Dr. Drews takes 
another line, and in a note draws our attention to 
the fact that the Samaritans possessed an apocryphal 
book of the same name as the canonical book of 
Joshua. This book, he informs us, is based upon an 
old work composed in the third century b.c, con- 
taining stories which in part do not appear in our 
Book of Joshua. 

He here suggests that something was omitted in 
canonical Joshua by its authors which would have 
helped out his hypothesis of a Joshua Sun-god cult. 
He will not, however, find the Samaritan book 
encouraging, for it gives no hint of such a cult; 
of that anyone who does not mind being bored by a 
perusal of it can satisfy himself. Drews's statement 
that it is based on an old work composed in the third 
century b.c. is founded on pure ignorance, and the 
Encyclopedia Bihlica declares it to be a medieval 
production of no value to anyone except the student 
of the Samaritan sect under Moslem rule. 

Mr. Robertson thinks he has got on a better trail The evid- 
in the shape of a tradition as to Joshua which he is gi'^Tabari 
quite sure the old Jewish scripture writers suppressed, about 
Let us examine it, for it affords a capital example 
of his ideas of what constitutes historical evidence. 
" Eastern tradition," he writes, "preserves a variety 

D 



Joshua 



34 HISTOEICAL METHOD 

of myths that the Bible-makers for obvious reasons 
suppressed or transformed." In one of those tradi- 
tions "Joshua is the son of the mythical Miriam; 
that is to say, there was probably an ancient Pales- 
tinian Saviour-Sun-God, Jesus, the son of Mary." 
So on p. 285 we learn that the cult of Jesus of 
Nazareth was " the Survival of an ancient solar or 
other worship of a Babe Joshua, son of Miriam." 
And he continually alludes to this ancient form of 
devotion, not as a mere hypothesis, but as a well- 
ascertained and demonstrable fact.^ 

Let us then explore this remarkable tradition by 
which " we are led to surmise that the elucidation of 
the Christ myth is not yet complete." For such is 
the grandiose language in which he heralds his dis- 
covery. And what does it amount to ? An Arab, 
El Tabari, who died in Bagdad about the year 925, 
compiled a Chronicle, of which some centuries later 
an unknown native of Persia made an abridgement 
in his own tongue, and inserted in it as a gloss " the 
remarkable Arab tradition," as it is called in the 
Pagan Christs (p. 157) of Mr. Eobertson, albeit he 
acknowledges in a footnote that it is "not in the 
Arabic original." He asks us accordingly, on the 
faith of an unknown Persian glossator of the late 
Middle Ages, to believe that the canonical Book of 
Joshua originally contained this absurd tradition, and 
why ? Because it would help out his hypothesis that 

1 On p. 299, Mary, mother of Joshua, does duty for Mary Magdalen. 
We there read as follows : " The friendship (of Jesus) with a ' Mary ' 
points towards some old myth in which a Palestinian God, perhaps 
named Yesohu or Joshua, figures in the changing relations of loyer 
and son towards a mythic Mary, a natural fluctuation in early 
theosophy." Very " natural" indeed among the Jews, who punished 
even adultery with death ! 



HISTOEICAL METHOD ' 35 

Jesus was an ancient Palestinian Saviour -Sun-God, 
worshipped by a cryptic society of Hebrews in Jeru- 
salem, both before and after the beginning of the 
Christian era ; and this is the man who writes about 
" the psychological resistance to evidence " of learned 
men, and sets it down to " malice and impercipionce " 
that anyone should challenge his conclusions. As 
usual, Dr. Drews, who sets Mr. Robertson on a level 
with the author of the Golden Bough^ as a " leading 
exponent of his new mythico-symbolical method," 
plunges into the pit which Mr. Robertson has dug 
for him, and writes that, " according to an ancient 
Arabian tradition, the mother of Joshua was called 
Mirzam (Mariam, Maria, as the mother of Jesus 
was)." 

The source from which Messrs. Drews and Robertson w. B.^ 
have drawn this particular inspiration is Dr. W. B. hypothesis 
Smith's work. The Pre-Christian Jesus {Der Vor- of a God 
christliche Jesus). This book, we are told, " first 
systematically set forth the case for the thesis of its 
title." Let us, therefore, consider its main argument. 
We have the following passages in Acts xviii, 24 : — 

Now a certain Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian 
by race, a learned man, came to Bphesus ; and he 
was mighty in the Scriptures. This man had been 
instructed in the way of the Lord ; and, being fervent 
in spirit, he spake and taught carefully the things 
concerning Jesus, knowing only the baptism of John : 
and he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. But 

' Needless to say, Dr. Frazer, as any scholar must, rejects the 
thesis of the unhistoricity of Jesus with derision. Mr. Robertson, in 
turn, imputes his rejection of it to timidity. " He (Frazer) has had 
some experience in arousing conservative resistance," he writes in 
Christianity and Mythology, p. 111. He cannot realize that any 
learned man should differ from himself, except to ourry favour with 
the orthodox, or from fear of them. 



Joshua 



36 HISTOEICAL METHOD 

when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him 
unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God 
more carefully. And when he was minded to pass 
over into Achaia, the brethren encouraged him, and 
wrote to the disciples to receive him : and when he 
was come, he helped them much which had believed 
through grace : for he powerfully confuted the Jews, 
publicly, showing by the Scriptures that Jesus was 
the Christ. 

Availing ourselves of the canons of interpretation 
laid down by Drews and Robertson, we may para- 
phrase the above somewhat as follows by way of 
getting at its true meaning : — 

"A certain sun-myth hero, as his name Apollos 
signifies, came to Ephesus, which, being the centre 
of Astarte or Aphrodite worship, was obviously the 
right place for such a hero to pilgrimage unto. He 
was mighty in the Jewish Scriptures, and had been 
instructed in the way of the Lord Joshua, the Sun- 
God-Saviour of ancient Ephraim. He spake and 
taught carefully the things concerning this Joshua 
(or Adonis, or Osiris, or Dionysus, or Vegetation-god, 
or Horus — for you can take your choice among these 
and many more). But he knew only of the pre- 
historic ritual of baptism of Cadmus or of Oannes-Ea, 
the ancient culture-god of the Babylonians, who 
appeared in the form of a Fish-man, teaching men 
by day and at night going down into the sea — in his 
capacity of Sun-god." This Cadmus or Oannes was 
worshipped at Jerusalem in the cryptic sect of the 
Christists or Jesuists under the name of John. His 
friend Apollos, the solar demi-god, began to speak 
boldly in the synagogue. Priscilla (presumably Cybele, 
mother of the gods), and Aquila, the Eagle-God, or 
Jupiter, heard him ; she took him forthwith and 



HISTOEICAL METHOD 37 

expounded to him the way of Jahve, who also was 
identical with Joshua, the Sun-god, with Osiris, etc. 

Professor W. B. Smith is a little more modest and His forced 
less thorough-going in his application of mythico- fetched' 
symbolic methods. He only asks us to believe that jnterpreta- 
the trite and hackneyed phrase, " the things con- common 
cerning Jesus," refers not, as the context requires, to plirases 
the history and passion of Jesus of Galilee, but to 
the mysteries of a prehistoric Saviour-God of the 
same name. "We advisedly aa,y prehistoric, for he was 
never mentioned by anyone before Professor Smith 
discovered him. The name Jesus, according to him, 
means what the word Essene also meant, a Healer.^ 
Note, in passing, that this etymology is wholly false, 
and rests on the authority of a writer so late, ignorant, 
and superstitious as Epiphanius. Now, why cannot 
the words, " the things about Jesus," in this context 
mean the tradition of the ministry of Jesus as it had 
shaped itself at that time, beginning with the Baptism 
and ending with the Ascension, as we read in Acts i, 22? 
It cannot, argues Professor Smith, because Apollos Apoiloa 
only knew the baptism of John. The reference to Baptism of 
John's baptism may be obscure, as much in early John 
Christianity is bound to be obscure, except to Professor 
Smith and his imitators. Yet this much is clear, that 
it here means, what it means in the sequel, the baptism 
of mere repentance as opposed to the baptism of the 
Spirit, which was by laying on of hands, and con- 

1 I could have given Professor Smith a better tip. Philo composed 
a glossary of Biblical and other names with their meanings, which, 
though lost in Greek, survives in an old Armenian version. In this 
Essene is equated with " silence." What a magnificent aid to 
Professor Smith's faith ! For if Essene meant " a silent one," then 
the pre-Christian Nazarenes must surely have been an esoteric and 
secret sect. 



38 HISTOEICAL METHOD 

ferred the charismatic gifts of the Holy Ghost. The 
Marcionites, and after them the Manichean and 
Cathar gects, retained the latter rite, and termed it 
Spiritual or Pneumatic Baptism ; while they dropped 
as superfluous the Johannine baptism with water. 
It would appear, then, that ApoUos was perfectly 
acquainted with the personal history of Jesus, and 
understood the purport of the baptism of repent- 
ance as a sacrament preparing followers of Jesus for 
the kingdom of Heaven, soon to be inaugurated on 
earth. Perhaps we get a glimpse in this passage of 
an age when the mission of Jesus in his primitive 
role as herald of the Messianic kingdom and a mere 
continuer of John's mission was familiar to many 
who yet did not recognize him as the Messiah. For, 
after instruction by Priscilla and Aquila, Apollos set 
himself to confute the Jews who denied Jesus to 
have been Messiah, which, as a mere herald of the 
approaching kingdom of God, he was not. We know 
that Paul regarded him as having attained that 
dignity only through, and by, the fact of the Spirit 
having raised him from the dead ; and did not regard 
him as having received it through the descent of the 
Spirit on him in the Jordan, as the oriental Christians 
presently believed. Still less did Paul know of the 
later teaching of the orthodox churches — viz., that 
the Annunciation was the critical moment in which 
Christ became Jesus. In any case, we must not 
interpret the words, " the things about Jesus," in 
this passage in a forced and unnatural sense wholly 
alien to the writer of Acts. This writer again and 
again recapitulates the leading facts of the life and 
ministry of Jesus, and the phrase, "the things con- 
cerning Jesus," cannot in any. work of his bear any 



HISTOEICAL METHOD • 39 

other sense. Moreover, the same author uses the 
very same phrase elsewhere (Luke xxiv, 19) in the 
same sense. Here Cleopas asks Jesus (whom he had 
failed to recognize), and says: — 

Dost thou alone sojourn in Jerusalem, and not 
know the things which are come to pass there in 
these days ? And he said unto him. What things ? 
And they said unto him, the things concerning Jesus 
of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed 
and word before God and all the people : and how 
the chief priests and our rulers delivered him up to 
be condemned to death, and crucified him. 

Such, then, were "the things about Jesus," and 
to find in them, as Professor W. B. Smith does, an 
allusion to a pre-Christian myth of a God Joshua 
is to find a gigantic mare's-nest, and fly in the face 
of all the evidence. He verges on actual absurdity 
when he sees the same allusion in Mark v, 26, where 
a sick woman, having heard " the things concerning 
Jesus," went behind him, touched his garment, and 
was healed. Her disease was of a hysterical descrip- 
tion, and in the annals of faith-healing such cures are 
common. What she had heard of was obviously not 
his fame as a Sun-god, but his power to heal sick 
persons like herself. Professor Smith tries to find 
support for his hardy conjecture in a chance phrase Magical 
in a magical papyrus of Paris, No. 3,009, edited first ^^^^sely"* 
by Wessely, and later by Dieterich in his Abraxas, 
p. 138. It is a form of exorcism to be inscribed on a 
tin plate and hung round the neck of a person 
possessed by a devil, or repeated over him by an 
exorcist. In this rigmarole the giants, of course, are 
dragged in, and the Tower of Babel and King 
Solomon ; and the name of Jesus, the God of the 
Hebrews, is also invoked in the following terms : " I 



40 HISTOEICAL METHOD 

adjure thee by Jesus the God of the Hebrews, labaiae 
Abraoth aia thoth ele, elo," etc. The age of this 
papyrus is unknown ; but Wessely puts it in the 
third century after Christ, while Dieterich shows that 
it can in no case be older than the second century 
B.C. It is clearly the composition of some exorcist 
who clung on to the skirts of late Judaism, for he is 
at pains to inform us in its last line that it is a 
Hebrew composition and preserved among pure men. 
In that age, as in after ones, not a few exorcists, 
trading on the fears and sufferings of superstitious 
people, affected to be pure and holy ; and the mention 
of Jesus indicates some such charlatan, who was 
more or less cognisant of Christianity and of the 
practice of Christian exorcists. He was also aware 
of the Jewish antecedents of Christianity, and did not 
distinguish clearly between the mother religion and 
its daughter. That is why he describes Jesus as a 
Hebrew God. We know from other sources that 
even in the earliest Christian age Gentiles used the 
name of Jesus in exorcisms. The author of the 
document styles Jesus God, just as Pliny informs us 
that the Christians sang hymns " to Christ as to 
God" — Christo quasi deo. How Professor Smith can 
imagine that this papyrus lends any colour to his 
thesis of a pre-Christian Jesus it is difficult to 
imagine. 
Jesus a Still less does his thesis really profit by the text 

^ThaT" 0* Matthew ii, 28, in which a prophecy is adduced 
sense to the effect that the Messiah should be called a 

Nazorsean, and this prophecy is declared to have been 
fulfilled in so far as Jesus was taken by his parents 
to live at Nazareth in Galilee. 

What prophecy the evangelist had in mind is not 



HISTOEICAL METHOD * 41 

known. But Professor W. B. Smith jumps to the 
conclusion that the Christians were identical with the 
sect of Nazorsei mentioned in Epiphanius as going back 
to an age before Christ ; and he appeals in confirma- 
tion of this quite gratuitous hypothesis^ to Acts 
xxiv, 5, where the following of Jesus is described as 
that of the Nazorsei. It in no way helps the thesis 
of the non-historicity of Jesus, even if he and his 
followers were members of this obscure sect ; it would 
rather prove the opposite. Drews, following W. B. 
Smith, pretends in the teeth of the texts that the 
name is applied to Jesus only as Guardian of the 
World, Protector and Deliverer of men from the 
power of sins and daemons, and that it has no refer- 
ence to an obscure and entirely unknown village 
named Nazareth. He also opines that Jesus was 
called a Nazarene, because he was the promised 
Netzer or Zemah who makes all things new, and so 
forth. Such talk is all in the air. Why these 
writers boggle so much at the name Nazorcean is not 

1 Of course, it is possible that Jesus, before he comes on the scene, 
at about the age of thirty, as a follower of John the Baptist, had been 
a member of the Essene sect, as the learned writer of the article on 
Jesus in the Jewish Encyclopcedia supposes. If such a sect of 
Nazorsei, as Epiphanius describes, ever really existed — and Epiphanius 
is an unreliable author — then Jesus may have been a member of it. 
But it is a long way from a may to a viust. Even if it could be 
proved that Matthew had such a tradition when he wrote, the proof 
would not diminish one whit the absurdity of Professor Smith's 
contention that he was a myth and a mere symbol of a God Joshua 
worshipped by pre-Christian Nazorsei. The Nazorsei of Epiphanius 
were a Christian sect, akin to, if not identical with, the Ebionites ; 
and the hypothesis that they kept up among themselves a secret cult 
of a God Joshua is as senseless as it is baseless, and opposed to all we 
know of them. In what sense Matthew, that is to say the anonymous 
compiler of the first Gospel, understood nazoraus is clear to anyone 
who will take the trouble to read Matthew ii, 23. He understood by 
it "a man who lived in the village called Nazareth," and that is the 
sense which Nazarene (used interchangeably with it) also bears in the 
Gospel. Mr. Smith scents enigmas everywhere. 



42 HISTOEICAL METHOD 

easy to divine ; still less to understand what Pro- 
fessor Smith is driving at when he writes of those 
whom he calls " historieists," that "They have 
rightly felt that the fall of Nazareth is the fall of 
historicism itself." Professor Burkitt has suggested 
that Nazareth is Chorazin spelt backwards. Well- 
hausen explains Nazoraan from Nesar in the name 
Gennessaret. In any case, as we have no first- 
century gazetteer or ordnance survey of Galilee, it is 
rash to suppose that there could have been no town 
there of the name. True the Talmuds and the Old 
Testament do not name it ; but they do not profess 
to give a catalogue of all the places in Galilee, so 
their silence counts for little.^ All we know for 
certain is that for the evangelist Nazorsean meant 
a dweller in Nazareth, and that he gave the word 
that sense when he met with it in an anonymous 
prophecy. 

I feel that I ought almost to apologize to my 
on myths readers for investigating at such length the hypo- 
thesis of a pre-Christian Jesus, son of a mythical 
Mary, and for exhibiting over so many pages its 
fantastic, baseless, and absurd character. But Mr. 
Eobertson himself warns us of the necessity of show- 
ing no mercy to myths when they assume the garb 
of fact. For he adduces (p. 126) the William Tell 
myth by way of illustrating once for all " the 
fashion in which a fiction can even in a historical 

1 How treacherous the argumentum a silentio may be I can 
exemplify. My name and address were recently omitted for two years 
running from the Oxford directory, yet my house is not one of the 
smallest in the city. If any future publicist should pry into my lite 
with the aid of this publication, he will certainly infer that I was not 
living in Oxford during those two years. And yet the Argument 
from Silence is only valid where we have a directory or gazetteer or 
carefully compiled list of names and addresses. 



Mr. 
Eobertson 



HISTOEICAL METHOD • 43 

period find general acceptance." Even so it is "with 
his own fictions. We see them making their way 
with such startling rapidity over England and 
Germany as almost to make one despair of this age 
of popular enlightenment. It is not his fault, and I 
exonerate him from blame. For centuries orthodox His 
theologians have been trying to get out of the Gospels those of 
supernaturalist conclusions which were never in them, oid- 
nor could with any colour be derived from them orthodoxy 
except by deliberately ignoring the canons of evidence 
and the historical methods freely employed in the 
study of all other ancient monuments and narratives. 
They have set the example of treating the early 
writings of Christianity as no other ancient books 
would be treated. Mr. Robertson is humbly following 
in their steps, but a rehours, or in an inverse sense. 
They insist on getting more out of the New Testament 
than any historical testimony could ever furnish ; he 
on getting less. In other respects also he imitates 
their methods. Thus they insist on regarding the 
New Testament, and in particular the four Gospels, 
as a homogeneous block, and will not hear of the 
criticism which discerns in them literary development, 
which detects earlier and later couches of tradition and 
narrative. This is what I call the Sunday-school 
attitude, and it lacks all perspective and orientation. 
Mr. Robertson imbibed it in childhood, and has never 
been able to throw it off. For him there is no before 
and after in the formation of these books, no earlier 
and later in the emergence of beliefs about Jesus, no 
stratification of documents or of ideas. If he some- 
times admits it, he withdraws the admission on the 
next page, as militating against his cardinal hypo- 
thesis. He seems never to have submitted himself 



44 



HISTOEICAL METHOD 



Thus he 

insists on 

the 

priority in 

Christian 

tradition 

of the 

Virgin 

Birth 

legend 



to systematic training in the methods of historical 
research — never, as we say, to have gone through the 
mill ; and accordingly in the handling of documents 
he shows himself a mere wilful child. 

His treatment of the legend of the Virgin Birth is 
an example of this mental attitude, which might be 
described as orthodoxy turned upside down and 
inside out. The Gospel of Mark is demonstrably 
older than those of the other two synoptists who 
merely copied it out with such variations, additions, 
omissions, and modifications as a growing reverence 
for Jesus the Messiah imposed. It contains, no more 
than the Pauline Epistles and the Johannine Gospel, 
any hint of the supernatural birth of Jesus. It 
regards him quite simply and naturally as the son of 
Joseph and Mary. In it the neighbours of Jesus 
enumerate by way of contumely the names of his 
brothers and sisters. I have shown also in my Myth, 
Magic, and Morals that this naturalist tradition of 
his birth dominates no less the whole of the Gospels 
of Matthew and Luke apart from the first two 
chapters of each, and that even in the first chapter 
of Matthew the pedigree in early texts ended with 
the words " Joseph begat Jesus." I have shown 
furthermore that the belief in the paternity of Joseph 
was the characteristic belief of the Palestinian Chris- 
tians for over two centuries, that it prevailed in Syria 
to the extent of regarding Jesus and Thomas as twin 
brothers. I have pointed out that the Jewish inter- 
locutor Trypho in Justin Martyr's dialogue (c. 150) 
maintains that Jesus was born a man of men and 
rejects the Virgin Birth legend as a novelty unworthy 
of monotheists, and that he extorts from his Christian 
antagonist the admission that the great majority 



HISTOEICAL METHOD * 45 

of Christians still believed in the paternity of 
Joseph. 

Now Mr. Robertson evidently reads a good deal, Hisexoep- 
and must at one time or another have come across treatment 
all these facts. Why, then, does he go out of his way °j Chris- 

T • -,1 ?^ r 1^ tiantradi- 

to Ignore them, and, m common with ir'rotessors Drews tion 

and W. B. Smith, insist that the miraculous tradition 
of Jesus's birth was coeval with the earliest Chris- 
tianity and prior to the tradition of a natural birth ? 
Yet the texts stare him in the face and confute him. 
Why does he shut his eyes to them, and gibe per- 
petually at the critical students who attach weight to 
them ? The works of all the three writers are tirades 
against the critical method which tries to disengage 
in the traditions of Jesus the true from the false, fact 
from myth, and to show how, in the pagan society 
which, as it were, lifted Jesus up out of his Jewish 
cradle, these myths inevitably gathered round his 
figure, as mists at midday thicken around a mountain 
crest. 

Their insistence that in the case of Christian In secular 
origins the miraculous and the non-miraculous form uses°other 
a solid block of impenetrable myth is all the more canons 
remarkable, because in secular history they are methods, 
prepared, nay anxious, for the separation of truth 
from falsehood, of history from myth, and continually 
urge not only its possibility, but its necessity. Mr. 
Robertson in particular prides himself on meting out 
to Apollonius of Tyana a measure which he refuses e.g., in 
to Jesus the Messiah. "The simple purport," he thfslory^ 
writes in the Literary Guide, May 1, 1913, "of my of Apol- 
chapter on Apollonius was to acknowledge his "'^^"^ 
historicity, despite the accretions of myth and more 
or less palpable fiction to his biography." And yet 



46 HISTOEICAL METHOD 

there are ten testimonies to the historicity of Jesus 
■where there is one to that of Apollonius ; yet Apol- 
lonius was reputed to have been born miraculously, 
and his birth accompanied by the portent of a meteor 
from heaven, as that of Jesus by a star from the east. 
Like Jesus, he controlled the devils of madness and 
disease, and by the power of his exorcisms dismissed 
them to be tortured in hell. Like Peter, he miracu- 
lously freed himself from his bonds ; like Jesus, he 
revealed himself after death to a sceptical disciple 
and viva voce convinced him of his ascent to heaven ; 
like him, he ascended in his body up to heaven amid 
the hymns of maiden worshippers. In life he spent 
seven days in the bowels of the earth, and gathered 
a band of disciples around him who acclaimed him 
as a divine being ; long after his death temples were 
raised to him as to a demigod, miracles wrought by 
his relics, and prayer and sacrifice offered to his 
genius. So considerable was the parallelism between 
his story and that of Jesus that the pagan enemies 
of the Christians began about the year 300 to run 
his cult against theirs, and it was only yesterday that 
the orthodox began to give up the old view that the 
Life of Apollonius was a blasphemous rechauffe of 
the Gospels. " There is no great reason to doubt that 
India was visited by Apollonius of Tyana," writes 
Mr. Robertson {Christianity and Mythology, p. 273) ; 
and yet his visit in the only relation we have of it 
is a tissue of marvels and prodigies, his Indian 
itinerary ia impossible, and full of contradictions not 
only of what we know of Indian geography to-day, 
but of what was already known in that day. Yet 
about his pilgrimage thither, declares Mr. Robertson, 
there is no more uncertainty than about the embassies 



HISTOEICAL METHOD ' 47 

sent by Porus to Augustus, and by the king of 
" Taprobane " to Claudius. " There is much myth," 
he writes again, p. 280, "in the life of Apollonius of 
Tyana, who appears to be at the bottom a real 
historical personage." In the Gospels we have the 
story of Jairus's daughter being raised to life from 
apparent death. " A closely similar story is found 
in Philostratus's Life of Apollonius of Tyana, the 
girl in each ease being spoken of in such a way as 
to leave open the question of her having been dead 
or a cataleptic." So writes Mr. Robertson, p. 334, 
who thinks that "the simple form preserved in 
Matthew suggests the derivation from the story in 
Philostratus," overlooking here, as elsewhere, the 
chronological difficulties. We can forgive him for 
that ; but why, we must ask, does the presence of 
such stories in the Gospel irrevocably condemn Jesus 
to non-historicity, while their presence in the Life of 
Apollonius leaves bis historical reality intact and 
unchallenged ? Is it not that the application of his 
canons of interpretation to Apollonius would have 
deprived him of one of the sources from which the 
mythicity of Jesus by his anachronistic methods could 
be deduced ? 

Mr. Robertson endeavours in a halting manner to The early 
justify his partiality for Apollonius. " We have," he pi^ay^o^the 
writes {Pagan Christs, p. 283, § 16), " no reason for Sun-god 
doubting that there was an Apollonius of Tyana. 

The reasons for not doubting are (1) that there 

was no cause to be served by a sheer fabrication ; 
and (2) that it was a much easier matter to take a 
known name as a nucleus for a mass of marvels and 
theosophic teachings than to build it up, as the 
phrase goes about the canon, ' round a hole.' The 



48 HISTOEICAL METHOD 

difference between such a case and those of Jesuism 
and Buddhism is obvious. In those cases there was 
a cultus and an organization to be accounted for, and 
a biography of the founder had to be forthcoming. 
In the case of Apollonius, despite the string of 
marvels attached to his name, there was no cultus." 

Let us examine the above argument. In the case 
of " Jesuism " (Mr. Kobertson's argot for early 
Christianity) there had to be fabricated a biography 
of Jesus, because there existed an organized sect that 
worshipped Jesus. 

The organized sect consisted, according to Mr. 
Kobertson, of " Christists " or " Jesuists," and the 
chief incident for which they were organized was an 
annual play in which the God Jesus was betrayed, 
arrested, condemned, was crucified, died, was buried, 
and rose again. Ober Ammergau has supplied him 
with his main conception, and his annually recurring 
" Gospel mystery play," as he imagines it to have 
been acted by the " Jesuists," who were immediate 
ancestors of the Christians, is a faithful copy of the 
modern Passion Play. He supposes it to have been 
acted annually because the hypothetical Sun-God- 
Saviour Joshua, whose mythical sufferings and death 
it commemorated, was an analogue of Osiris, whose 
sufferings and death were similarly represented in 
Egypt each recurring spring ; also of Adonis, of 
Dionysus, of Mithras, and of sundry vegetation gods, 
annually slain to revive vegetation and secure the 
life of the initiate in the next world. Be it remarked 
also that the annually slain God of the Jesuists was 
not only an analogue of these other gods, but a 
" composite myth " made up of their myths. As we 
have seen, Mr. Robertson is ready to exhibit to us in 



HISTOEICAL METHOD ' 49 

one or another of their mythologies the original of 
every single incident and actor in the Jesuist play. 

Such was the cultus and organization which, 
according to Mr. Robertson and his imitator Dr. 
Drews, lies behind the Christian religion. The latter 
began to be when the "Jesuist" cult, having broken 
away from Judaism, was also concerned to break 
away from the paganism in contact with which the 
play would first arise. 

A biography of the Founder of the cult was now The Gos- 
called for, by the Founder oddly enough being meant transcript 
the God himself, and not the hierophant who insti- of this play 
tuted the play. The Christian Gospels are the 
biography in question. They are a transcript of the 
annually performed ritual drama, just as Lamb's 
Tales from Shakespeare are transcripts of Shake- 
speare's plays. 

The first performances of the play, we learn, 
probably took place in Egj'pt. It ceased to be acted 
when " it was reduced to writing as part of the 
gospel." How far away from Jerusalem it was that 
the momentous decision was taken by the sect to 
give up play acting and be content with the transcript 
Mr. Eobertson "can hardly divine." He hints, how- 
ever, that some of the latest representations took 
place in the temples built by Herod at Damascus and 
Jericho and in the theatres of the Greek town of 
Gadara. "The reduction of the play to narrative 
form put all the Churches on a level, and would 
remove a stumbling block from the way of the 
ascetic Christists who objected to all dramatic shows 
as such." 

But where did the play come from ? What inspired 
it ? Mr. Robertson makes a tour round the Mediter- 



50 HISTOEICAL METHOD 

ranean, and collects in Part II, Ch. I, of his Pagan 
Christs a lot of scrappy information about mock 
sacrifices and mystery dramas, all of them "cases 
and modes of modification " of actual human sacri- 
fices that were " once normal in the Semitic world." 
He assumes without a tittle of proof, and against all 
probability, that the annual sacrifice of a king or of 
a king's son, whether in real or mimic, held its ground 
among Jews as a religious ceremony right down into 
our era, and was " reduced among them to ritual 
form, like the leading worships of the surrounding 
Gentile world." He fashions a new hypothesis in 
accordance with these earlier ones as follows : — 
Joshua or << jf jj^ g^jj Jewish community, or in the Jewish 
onceayear quarter of any Eastern city, the central figure in this 
rite {i.e., of a mock sacrifice annually recurring of a 
man got up to represent a god) were customarily 
called Jesus Barabbas, ' Jesus the Son of the Father ' 
— whether or not in virtue of an old cultus of a God 
Jesus who had died annually like Attis and Tammuz 
— we should have a basis for the tradition so long 
preserved in many MSS. of the first gospel, and at 
the same time a basis for the whole gospel myth of 
the crucifixion." 

Here we have a whole string of hypotheses piled 

one on the other. Let us see which have any ground 

in fact, or cohere with what we know of the past, which 

are improbable and unproven. 

Hypo- That human sacrifice was once in vogue among 

human ^^^ J^ws is probable enough, and the story of the 

sacrifice frustrated sacrifice of Isaac was no doubt both a 

j^°s"^ memory and a condemnation of the old rite of 

sacrificing first-born children with which we are 

familiar in ancient Phoenicia and her colony of 



HISTOEICAL METHOD * 51 

Carthage. That such rites in Judsea and in Israel 
did not survive the Assyrian conquest of Jerusalem 
is certain. The latest allusion to them is in Isaiah 
XXX, 27-33. This passage is post-exilic indeed ; but, 
as Dr. Cheyne remarks {Encycl. Biblica, art. Moleeh, 
col. 3,187) : " The tone of the allusion is rather that 
of a writer remote from these atrocities than of a 
prophet in the midst of the struggle against them." 

We may then assume (1) that the custom of human 
sacrifice disappeared among Jews centuries before 
our era ; (2) that in the epoch 100 b.c. to 100 a.d. 
every Jew, no matter where he lived, would view 
such rites and reminiscences with horror. As a 
matter of fact, Philo dwells in eloquent language on 
the horror and abomination of them as they were 
still in his day sporadically celebrated, not among 
Jews, but among pagans. 

This being so, is it likely that any Jewish com- 
munity would keep up even the simulacrum of such 
rites ? In Josephus and Philo, who are our most 
important witnesses to the Judaism that just preceded 
or was contemporary with early Christianity, there 
is no hint of such rites as might constitute a memory 
and mimicry of human victims, whether identified 
with a god or not. No serious pagan writer of that 
age ever accused the Jews of keeping up such rites 
openly or in secret among themselves. Apion alone Evidence 
had a cock-and-bull story of how Antiochus Epiphanes, °* Apion 
when he took Jerusalem (c. 170 b.c), found a Greek by Mr. 
being fattened up by the Jews in the adytum of the l^obertsou 
temple about to be slain and eaten in honour of their 
god. Of course Mr. Eobertson catches at this, and 
writes {Pagan Christs, p. 161) that, " in view of all 
the clues, we cannot pronounce that story incredible." 



52 HISTOEIOAL METHOD 

What clues has he? The undoubted survival of 
ritual murder among the pagans of Phcenicia in that 
age is no clue, though it explains the genesis of 
Apion's tale. And Mr. Robertson has one other 
treasure trove— to wit, the obscure reading "Jesus 
Barabbas" in certain MSS. of Matthew xxvii, 17: 
" Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release 
unto you? (Jesus) Barabbas, or Jesus which is 
called'Christ?" 
The sacri- It j^as been plausibly suggested that the addition 
the mock Jesus is due to a scribe's reduplication, such as is 
^^^s common in Greek manuscripts, of the last syllable 

of the word humin = unto you. The in in uncials 
is a regular compendium for lesun Jesus. In this 
way the name Jesus may have crept in before 
Barabbas. The entire story of Barabbas being 
released has an apocryphal air, for Pilate would not 
have let off a rebel against the Roman rule to please 
the Jewish mob ; and the episode presupposes that 
it was the Sanhedrin which had condemned Jesus to 
death, which is equally improbable. What is pro- 
bable, however, is that the Syrian soldiery to whom 
Pilate committed Jesus for crucifixion were accus- 
tomed to the Sacsea festival of Babylonian origin, and 
perhaps to the analogous Roman feast of the Satur- 
nalia. In such celebrations a mock king was chosen, 
and vested with the costume, pomp, and privileges of 
kingship perhaps for as long as three days. Then 
the mimicry of slaying him was gone through, and 
sometimes the mock king was really put to death. 
Among Syrians the name Barabbas may — it is a mere 
hypothesis — have been the conventional appellation 
of the victim slain actually or in mock show on such 
occasions ; and the soldiers of Pilate may have treated 



HISTOEIGAL METHOD 53 

him en Barabbas. Loisy suggests in his Commentary 
on the Synoptics that this was the genesis of the 
Barabbas story. That a pagan soldiery treated Jesus 
as a mock king, when they dressed him in purple 
and set a crown of thorns on his head, and, kneeling 
before him, cried "Hail King of the Jews," is quite 
possible ; and serious scholars like Paul Wendland 
{Hermes, Vol. XXXIII (1898), foil. 175) and Mr. 
W. R. Baton long ago discerned the probability. 

But it was one thing for Syrians and pagans to 
envisage the crucifixion of Jesus under the aspect of 
a sacrifice to Molech, quite another thing for Jews — 
whether as his enemies or as his partisans — to do 
so ; nor does the Gospel narrative suggest that any 
Jews took part in the ceremony. Perhaps it was out 
of respect for Jewish susceptibilities — and they were 
not likely to favour any mockery of their Messianic 
aspirations — that Pilate caused Jesus to be divested 
of the purple insignia of royalty and clad in his usual 
garb before he was led out of the guardroom and 
through the streets of Jerusalem on his way to 
Golgotha. 

We read in Philo {In Flaccum, vi) of a very Evidence 
similar scene enacted in the streets of Alexandria °* ^^^^° 
within ten years of the crucifixion. The young 
Agrippa, elevated by Caligula to the throne of Judaea, 
had landed in that city, where feeling ran high 
between Jews and pagans. The latter, by way of 
ridiculing the pretensions of the Jews to have a king 
of their own, seized on a poor lunatic named Carabas 
who loitered night and day naked about the streets, 
ran him as far as the Gymnasium, and there stood 
him on a stool, so that all could see him, having first 
set a mock diadem of byblus on his head and thrown 



54 HISTOEICAL METHOD 

a rug over his shoulders as a cloak of honour. In 
his hand they set a papyrus stem by way of sceptre. 
Having thus arrayed him, as in a mime of the 
theatre, with the insignia of mock royalty, the young 
men shouldering sticks, as if they were a bodyguard, 
encircled him, while others advanced, saluted his 
mock majesty, and pretended that he was their judge 
and king sitting on his throne to direct the common- 
wealth. Meanwhile a shout went up from the crowd 
around of Marin, which in the Syrian language 
signified Lord. 

This passage of Philo goes far to prove that the 
mockery of Jesus in the Gospels was no more than 
a public ridiculing of the Jewish expectations of a 
national leader or Messiah who should revive the 
splendours of the old Davidic kingdom. In any case, 
the mockery is conducted at Jerusalem by Pilate's 
soldiers (who were not Jews, but a pagan garrison 
put there to overawe the Jews), at Alexandria by 
such Greeks as Apion penned his calumnies to 
gratify. Mr. Robertson's suggestion that the mock 
ceremony of the crucifixion was performed by Jews or 
Christians is thus as absurd as it is gratuitous. It 
was held in bitter despite of Jews and Christians, it 
was a mockery and reviling of their most cherished 
hopes and ideals ; and yet he does not scruple to 
argue that it is " a basis for the whole gospel myth of 
the crucifixion." 
Evidence Thus he is left with the single calumny of Apion, 
Khonds which deserves about as much credence as the similar 
tales circulated to-day against the Jews of Bessarabia. 
That is the single item of evidence he has to prove 
what is the very hinge of his theory — the supposition, 
namely, that the Jews of Alexandria first, and after- 



HISTOEICAL METHOD '55 

wards the Jews of Jerusalem, celebrated in secret 
once a year ritual dramas representing the ceremonial 
slaying of a Sun- God-Saviour Joshua, Son of the 
Father and of the Virgin Miriam. It is a far cry to 
the horrible rites of the Khonds of modern India ; 
but Mr. Robertson, for whom wide differences of age 
and place matter nothing when he is explaining 
Christian origins, has discovered in them a key to 
the narrative of the crucifixion of Jesus. He runs 
all round the world and collects rites of ritual murder 
and cannibal sacraments of all ages, mixes them up, 
lumps them down before us, and exclaims trium- 
phantly. There is my " psychological clue " to 
Christianity. The most superficial resemblances 
satisfy him that an incident in Jerusalem early in 
our era is an essential reproduction of a Khond 
ritual murder in honour of the goddess Tari. Was 
there ever an author so hopelessly uncritical in his 
methods ? 

The Gospels, then, are a transcript of a mock Origin of 
murder of the Sun-god Joshua annually performed j^ °^' 
in secret by the Jews of Jerusalem, for it had got 
there before it was written down and discontinued. 
One asks oneself why, if the Jews had tolerated so 
long a pagan survival among themselves, they could 
not keep it up a little longer ; and why the " Christists " 
should be so anxious " to break away from paganism " 
at exactly the same hour. Moreover, their breach 
with paganism did not amount to much, since they 
kept the transcript of a ritual drama framed on 
pagan lines and inspired throughout by pagan ideas 
and myths; not only kept it, but elevated it into 
Holy Scripture. At the same time they retained the 
Old Testament, which as Jews they had immemorially 



56 HISTOEICAL METHOD 

venerated as Holy Scripture; and for generations 
they went on worshipping in the Jewish temple, kept 
the Jewish feasts and fasts, and were zealous for 
circumcision. What a hotchpotch of a sect ! 
How could It occurs to me to ask Mr. Robertson a few ques- 
slfiJTan"-'^ tions about this transcript. It was the annual mystery 
nuallybe play reduced to writing. The central event of the 
Pontius play was the annual death and resurrection of a solar 
Pilate? or vegetation god, whose attributes and career were 
borrowed from the cults of Osiris, Adonis, Dionysus, 
and Co. All these gods died once a year ; and, I 
suppose, had you asked one of the votaries when his 
god died, he would have answered. Every spring. 
Now all the Gospels (in common with all Christian 
tradition) are unanimous that Jesus only died once, 
about the time of the Passover, when Pilate was 
Eoman Governor of Judaea, when Annas and Caiaphas 
were high-priests and King Herod about. This surely 
is an extraordinary record for a Sun-god who died 
once a year. And it was not in the transcript only 
that all these fixities of date crept in, for Mr. Robertson 
insists most vehemently that Pilate was an actor in 
the play. "Even the episode," he writes {Pagan 
Christs, p. 193), "of the appeal of the priests and 
Pharisees to Pilate to keep a guard on the tomb, 
though it might be a later interpolation, could quite 
well have been a dramatic scene." In Mark and 
Matthew, as containing " the earlier version " of the 
drama, he detects everywhere a " concrete theatri- 
cality." Thus he commits himself to the astonish- 
ing paralogism that Pilate and Herod, Annas and 
Caiaphas, and all the other personages of the closing 
chapters of the Gospels, were features in an annually 
recurring passion play of the Sun-god Joshua ; and 



HISTOEICAL METHOD • 57 

this play was not a novelty introduced after the 
crucifixion, for there never was a real crucifixion. 
On the contrary, it was a secret survival among 
paganized Jews, a bit of Jewish pagan mummery 
that had been going on long ages before the actors 
represented in it ever lived or were heard of. Such 
is the reductio ad ahsurdum of the thesis which peeps 
out everywhere in Mr. Eobertson's pages. And now 
we have found what we were in search of — namely, 
the cultus and organization to account for which a 
biography of Jesus had to be fabricated. The Life 
of Apollonius, argues Mr. Eobertson, cannot have 
been built up round a hole, and as there was no 
organized cult of him (this is utterly false), there 
must have been a real figure to fit the biography. In 
the other case the organized and pre-existing cult was 
the nucleus around which the Gospels grew up like 
fairy rings around a primal fungus. It is not obvious 
why a cult should exclude a real founder, or, rather, 
a real person, in honour of whom the cult was kept 
up. In the worship of the Augustus or of the ancient 
Pharaoh, who impersonated and was Osiris, we have 
both. Why not have both in the case of Jesus, to 
whose real life and subsequent deification the Augusti 
and the Pharaohs offer a remarkable parallel ? But 
there never was any pre-Christian cult and organiza- 
tion in Mr. Eobertson's sense. It is a monstrous 
outgrowth of his own imagination. 

And as in the case of Apollonius, so in the case of Historicity 
other ancients, he is careful not to apply those fails by°the 
methods of interpretation which he yet cannot pardon canons of 
scholars for not applying to Jesus. Let us take ioist™^ 
another example. Of the life of Plato we know next 
to nothing. In the dialogues attributed to him his 



58 HISTOEIOAL METHOD 

name is only mentioned twice ; and in both cases its 
mention could, if we adopt Mr. Robertson's canons 
of interpretation, be with the utmost ease explained 
away as an interpolation. The only life we have of 
him was penned by Diogenes Laertius 600 years 
after he lived. The details of his life supplied by 
Aristoxenus, a pupil of Aristotle, are obviously false. 
The only notices preserved of him that can be claimed 
to be contemporary are the few derived from his 
nephew Speusippus. Now what had Speusippus to 
tell ? Why, a story of the birth of Plato which, as 
Mr. Robertson (p. 293) writes, scarcely differs from 
the story of Matthew i, 18-25 : 

" In the special machinery of the Joseph and Mary 
myth — the warning in a dream and the abstention 
of the husband — we have a simple duplication of the 
relations of the father and mother of Plato, the former 
being warned in a dream by Apollo, so that the child 
was virgin-born." 

Again, just as the Christians chose a " solar date " 
for the birthday of Jesus, so the Platonists, according 
to Mr. Robertson, p. 308, " placed the master's birth- 
day on that of Apollo — that is, either at Christmas or 
at the vernal equinox." 

Now in the case of Jesus such legends and events 
as the above suffice to convince Mr. Robertson that 
the history of Jesus as told in the Gospels is a mere 
survival of " ancient solar or other worship of a babe 
Joshua, son of Miriam," of which ancient worship 
nothing is known except that it looms large in the 
imagination of himself, of Dr. Drews, and of Professor 
W. B. Smith. On the other hand, we do know that 
a cult of Apollo existed, and that it is no fiction of 
these modern writers. Surely, then, it is time we 



HISTOEIOAL METHOD '59 

changed our opinion about the historicity of Plato. 
Is it not as clear as daylight that he was the survival 
of a pre-Platonic Apollo myth ? We know the role 
assigned to Apollo of revealer of philosophic truth. 
Well, here were the dialogues and letters of Plato, 
calling for an explanation of their origin ; a sect of 
Platonists who cherished these writings and kept the 
feast of their master on a solar date. On all the 
principles of the new mythico-symbolic system Plato, 
as a man, had no right to exist. " Without Jesus," 
writes Drews, " the rise of Christianity can be quite 
well understood." Yes, and, by the same logic, no 
less the rise of Platonism without Plato, or of the 
cult of Apollonius without Apollonius. What is 
sauce for the goose is surely sauce for the gander. 
With a mere change of names we could write of Plato 
what on p. 282 Mr. Robertson writes of Jesus. Let 
us do it : " The gospel Jesus {read dialogist Plato) 
is as enigmatic from a humanist as from a super- 
naturalist point of view. Miraculously born, to the 
knowledge of many (read of his nephew Speusippus, 
of Clearchus whose testimony ' belongs to Plato's 
generation,' of Anaxilides the historian and others), 
he reappears as a natural man even in the opinion 
of his parents (read of nephew Speusippus and the 
rest) ; the myth will not cohere. Rationally con- 
sidered, he (Plato) is an uninteUigible portent ; a 
Galilean {read Athenian) of the common people, 
critically untraceable till his full manhood, when he 
suddenly appears as a cult-founder." 

Why does Mr. Robertson so incessantly labour the ^^7"^^'"^ 
point that the belief in the supernatural birth of part of the 
Jesus came first in time, and was anterior to the ^^'^'"^ifis* 
belief that he was born a man of men ? This he tradition 



60 HISTOEICAL METHOD 

implies in the words just cited : " Miraculously born, 
to the knowledge of many, he reappears as a natural 
man." A story almost identical with that of the 
Massacre of the Innocents by Herod was, Mr. Robert- 
son tells us (p. 184), told of the Emperor Augustus 
in his lifetime, and appears in Suetonius " as accepted 
history." And elsewhere (p. 395) he writes: "It 
was after these precedents {i.e., of Antiochus and 
Ptolemy) that Augustus, besides having himself given 
out, like Alexander, as begotten of a God, caused 

himself to be proclaimed in the East as being 

born under Providence a Saviour and a God and the 
beginning of an Evangel of peace to mankind." 
Like Plato's story, then, so the official and contem- 
porary legends of Augustus closely resembled the later 
ones of Jesus. Yet Mr. Robertson complacently accepts 
the historicity of Plato and Augustus, merely brush- 
ing aside the miraculous stories and supernatural role. 
Nowhere in his works does he manifest the faintest 
desire to apply in the domain of profane history the 
canons which he so rigidly enforces in ecclesiastical. 

Yet there are passages in Mr. Robertson's works 
where he seems, to use his own phrase, to " glimpse " 
the truth. Thus, on p. 124 of Christianity and Mytho- 
logy he writes : " Jesus is said to be born of a Virgin ; 
but not in the original version of the first gospel ; 
and not in the second ; and not in the fourth ; and 
not in any writing or by any mouth known to or 
credited by the writers of the Pauline Epistles. Here 
we see how a myth may be superimposed on a cult." 

Does not this mean that a cidt of Jesus already 
existed before this myth was added, and that the 
myth is absent in the earliest documents of the cult ? 
Again, on p. 274, he writes that " the Christian 



HISTOEICAL METHOD - 61 

Virgin-myth and Virgin-and-child worship are cer- 
tainly of pre-Christian origin, and of comparatively 
late Christian acceptance.'" Yet, when I drew attention 
in the Literary Guide of December 1, 1912, to the 
inconsistency with this passage of the later one above 
cited, which asserts that, " Miraculously born, to 
the knowledge of many, he reappears as a natural 
man," he replied (January 1, 1913) that " a reader 
of ordinary candour would understand that ' accept- 
ance ' applied to the official action of the Church." 
It appears, therefore, that in the cryptic secret society 
of the Joshua Sun-God-Saviour, which held its 
seances at Jerusalem at the beginning of our era, 
there was an official circle which lagged behind the 
unofficial multitude. The latter knew from the first 
that their solar myth was miraculously born ; but the 
official and controlling inner circle ignored the miracle 
until late in the development of the cult, and then at 
last issued a number of documents from which it was 
excluded. One wonders why. Why trouble to utter 
these documents in which Jesus " reappears as a 
natural man," long after the sect as a whole were 
committed to the miraculous birth? What is the 
meaning of these wheels within wheels, that hardly 
hunt together? We await an explanation. Mean- 
while let us probe the new mythico-symbolism a 
little further. 

Why did the solar God Joshua-Jesus scourge the The 
money-changers out of the temple? Answer: ^iX"'"^ 
Because it is told of Apollonius of Tyana, " that he temple 
expelled from the cities of the left bank of the 
Hellespont some sorcerers who were extorting money 
for a great propitiatory sacrifice to prevent earth- 
quakes." 



62 HISTOEICAL METHOD 

The connection is beautifully obvious like the rest 
of our author's rapprochements ; but we must accept 
it, or we shall lay ourselves open to the reproach of 
"psychological resistance to evidence." Nor must 
we ask how the memoirs of Damis, that lay in a 
corner till Philostratus got hold of them in the year 
215, enjoyed so much vogue among the " Christists " 
of Jerusalem long years before they can conceivably 
have been written. 

Why on the occasion in question did Jesus make 
a scourge of cords with which to drive the sheep and 
oxen out of the Temple ? Answer : " Because in the 
Assyrian and Egyptian systems a scourge-bearing 

god is a very common figure on the monuments 

it is specially associated with Osiris, the Saviour, 
Judge, and Avenger. A figure of Osiris, reverenced 
as ' Chrestos ' the benign God, would suffice to set up 
among Christists as erewhile among pagans the 
demand for an explanation." 

Here we get a precious insight into the why and 
wherefore of the Gospels. They were intended by 
the "Christists" to explain the meaning of Osiris 
statues. Why could they not have asked one of the 
priests of Osiris, who as a rule might be found in 
the neighbourhood of his statues, what the emblem 
meant ? And, after all, were statues of Osiris so 
plentiful in Jerusalem, where the sight even of a 
Roman eagle aroused a riot ? 
mCTthe ^^° ^^^ Peter? Answer: An understudy of 
Mfrons Mithras, who in the monuments bears two keys ; or 
of Janus, who bears the keys and the rod, and as 
opener of the year (hence the name January) stands 
at the head of the twelve months. 

Why did Peter deny Jesus ? Answer : Because 



HISTOEICAL METHOD . 63 

Janus was called bifrons. The epithet puzzled the 
" Christists " or " Jesuists " of Jerusalem, who, 
instead of asking the first Roman soldier they met 
what it meant, proceeded to render the word bifrons 
in the sense of " double-faced," quite a proper epithet 
they thought for Peter, who thenceforth had to be 
held guilty of an act of double-dealing. For we must 
not forget that it was the epithet which suggested to 
the Christists the invention of the story, and not the 
story that of the epithet. But even Mr. Eobertson 
is not quite sure of this ; and it does not matter, where 
there is such a wealth of alternatives. For Peter is 
also an understudy of " the fickle Proteus." Janus's 
double head was anyhow common on coins, and with 
that highly relevant observation he essays to protect 
his theories of Janus-Peter from any possible 
criticisms. Indeed, we are forbidden to call in 
question the above conclusions. They are quite 
certain, because the " Christists " were intellectually 
" about the business of forming myths in explanation 
of old ritual and old statuary" (p. 350). Wonderful 
people these early " Christists," who, although they 
were, as Mr. Eobertson informs us (p. 348), " apostles 
of a Judaic cult preaching circumcision," and there- 
fore by instinct inimical to all plastic art, nevertheless 
rivalled the modern archseologist in their desire to 
explain old statuary. They seem to have been the 
prototypes of the Jews of Wardour Street. No less 
wonderful were they as philologists, in that, being 
Hebrews and presumably speaking Aramaic, they 
took such a healthy interest in the meaning of Latin 
words, and discovered in bifrons a sense which 
it never bore in any Latin author who ever used 
it! 



64 HISTOEICAL METHOD 

The keys jj; appears to have escaped the notice of Professor 
" ^'^"^ Franz Cumont that Mithras carries in his monuments 
two keys. The two keys were an attribute of the 
Mithraic Kronos, in old Persian Zervan, whom rela- 
tively late the Latins confused with Janus, who also 
had two heads and carried keys. That late Christian 
images of Peter were imitated from statues of these 
gods no one need doubt, and Fr. Cumont {Monuments 
de Mithras, i, 85) does not reject such an idea. It is 
quite another thing to assume dogmatically that the 
text Matthew xvi, 19 was suggested by a statue of 
Janus or of Zervan. To explain it you need not 
leave Jewish ground, but merely glance at Isaiah 
xxii, 22, where the Lord is made to say of Eliakim : 
"And the key of the house of David will I lay upon 
his shoulder ; and he shall open and none shall shut ; 
and he shall shut and none shall open." The same 
imagery meets us in Revelation iii, 7 (copied from 
Isaiah), Luke xi, 52, and elsewhere. A. Sulzbach 
(in Ztschr. f.d. Neiotest. Wissenschaft, 1903, p. 190) 
points out that every Jew, up to a.d. 70, would under- 
stand such imagery, for he saw every evening the 
temple keys ceremoniously taken from a hole under 
the temple floor, where they were kept under a slab 
of stone. The Levite watcher locked up the temple 
and replaced the keys under the slab, upon which 
he then laid his bed for the night. In connection 
with the magic power of binding and loosing the keys 
had, of course, a further and magical significance, not 
in Judaea alone, but all over the world, and the Evan- 
gelists did not need to examine statues of Janus or 
Zervan in order to come by this bit of everyday 
symbolism. 
N.B. — No connection of Janus-Peter of the Gospels 



HISTOEICAL METHOD 65 

with Peter of the Pauline Epistles ! The one was a 
mythical companion of the Sun-god, the other a man 
of ilesh and blood, according to Mr. Robertson. 

Who was Joseph? Answer: Forasmuch as "the Joseph 
Christian system is a patchwork of a hundred sugges- ^ss 
tions drawn from pagan art and ritual usage " (p. 305), 
and " Christism was only neo-Paganism grafted on 
Judaism" (p. 338), Joseph must be regarded as " a 
partial revival of the ancient adoration of the God 
Joseph as well as of that of the God Daoud " (p. 303). 
He was also, seeing that he took Mary and her child 
on an ass into Egypt, a reminiscence ; or, shall we 
not say, an explanation of " the feeble old man leading 
an ass in the sacred procession of Isis, as described 
by Apuleius in his Metamor phases y 

There is no mention of Joseph's ass in the Gospels, 
but that does not matter. Dr. Drews is better 
informed, and would have us recognize in Joseph an 
understudy of Kinyras, the father of Adonis, who " is 
said to have been some kind of artisan, a smith, or 
carpenter. That is to say, he is supposed to have 
invented the hammer," etc. Might I suggest the 
addition of the god Thor to the collection of gospel 
aliases? The gods Joseph and Daoud are purely 
modern fictions ; no ancient Jew ever heard of either. 

Why was Jesus crucified ? 

" The story of the Crucifixion may rest on the 'l^? CtmcI- 
remote datum of an actual crucifixion of Jesus Ben 
Pandira, the possible Jesus of Paul, dead long before, 
and represented by no preserved biography or teach- 
ings whatever." 

The Christists were clearly pastmasters in the art 
of explaining ignotum per ig7iotius. For on the next 
page we learn that it is not known whether this 

F 



66 HISTOEICAL METHOD 

worthy " ever lived or was crucified." In Pagan 

Christs he is acknowledged to be a " mere name." 

However this be, " it was the mythic significance of 

crucifixion that made the early fortune of the cult, 

with the aid of the mythic significance of the name 

Jeschu = Joshua, the ancient Sun-god." 

The meaning of this oracular pronouncement is 

too profound for me to attempt to fathom it. Let us 

pass on to another point in the new elucidation of the 

Gospels. 

W. B. What were the exorcisms of evil spirits ascribed to 

Smith on ^-^^ ancient Sun-god Joshua, under his alias of Jesus 
exorcisms ° ' 

of devils of Nazareth ? 

In his Pagan Christs, as in his Christianity and 
Mythology, Mr. Kobertson unkindly leaves us in the 
lurch about this matter, although we would dearly 
like to know what were the particular archaeological 
researches of the "Christists" and " Jesuists " that 
led them to coin these myths of exorcisms performed, 
and of devils cast out of the mad or sick by their 
solar myth. Nor does Dr. Drews help us much. 
Never mind. Professor W. B. Smith nobly stands 
in the breach, so we will let him take up the parable ; 
the more so because, in handling this problem, he 
may be said to have excelled himself. On p. 57, then, 
of Ecce Dens, he premises, in approaching this delicate 
topic, that " in the activity of the Jesus and the 
apostles, as delineated in the Gospels, the one all- 
important moment is the casting-out of demons." 

With this all will agree ; but what follows is barely 
consonant with the thesis of his friends. He cites in 
effect Mark iii, 14, 15, and the parallel passages in 
which Jesus is related to have sent forth the twelve 
disciples to preach and to have authority to cast 



HISTOEICAL METHOD 67 

out the demons. Xow, according to the mythico- 
symbolical theory, the career of -Jesus and his disciples 
lay not on earth, but in that happy region where 
mythological personages live and move and have 
their being. As Dr. Drews says {The Christ Myth, 
p. 117) : " In reality the whole of the family and 
home life of the Messiah, Jesus, took place in heaven 
among the gods." 

Accordingly, Dr. W. B. Smith finds it " amazing 
that anyone should hesitate an instant over the sense " 
of the demonological episodes in the Grospels, and he 
continues : " When we recall the fact that the early 
Christians uniformly understood the heathen gods to 
be demons, and uniformly represented the mission of 
Jesus to be the overthrow of these demon gods, it 
seems as clear as the sun at noon that this fall of 
Satan from heaven^ can be nothing less ^and how 
could it possibly be anything more?) than the 
headlong ruin of polytheism — the complete triumph 
of the One Eternal God. It seems superfluous to 

insist on anything so palpable Can any rational 

man for a moment believe that the Saviour sent forth 
his apostles and disciples with such awful solemnity 
to heal the few lunatics that languished in Galilee? 
Is that the way the sublimist of teachers would fotmd 
the new and true religion ? " 

In the last sentence our author nods and lapses into 
the historical mood ; for how can one talk of a 
mythical Joshua being a teacher and founding a new 
religion — of his sending forth the apostles and 
disciples ? These things are done on earth, and not 
up in heaven " among the gods," as Drews says. It 

1 See Luke x, 1T--20. 



68 HISTOEICAL METHOD 

is, perhaps, impertinent, for the rest, to criticize so 
exalted an argument as Professor Smith's; yet the 
question suggests itself, why, if the real object of the 
mystic sectaries who worshipped in secret the " Proto- 
Ghristian God, the Jesus," was to acquaint the faithful 
with the triumph of the heavenly Jesus over the 
demon-gods of paganism — why, in that case, did they 
wrap it up in purely demonological language ? All 
around them exorcists, Jewish and pagan, were driving 
out demons of madness and disease at every street 
corner — dumb devils, rheumatic devils, blind devils, 
devils of every sort and kind. Was it entirely 
appropriate for these mystic devotees to encourage 
the use of demonological terminology, when they 
meant something quite else? "These early propa- 
gandists," he tells us, p. 143, " were great men, were 
very great men ; they conceived noble and beautiful 
and attractive ideas, which they defended with curious 
learning and logic, and recommended with captivating 
rhetoric and persuasive oratory and consuming zeal." 
Surely it was within the competence of such 
egregious teachers to say without disguise what they 
really meant, instead of beating about the bush 
and penning stories which so nearly reproduced the 
grovelling superstitions of the common herd around 
them ? They might at least have issued a Delphin 
edition of their gospels, with a paraphrase in the 
margin to explain the text and to save the faithful 
from taking these stories literally — for so they took 
them as far back as we can trace the documents ; and, 
what is more, in all those derivative churches all over 
the world which continued the inner life of Professor 
Smith's mystic sectaries, we hear from the earliest 
age of the appointing of vulgar exorcists, whose duty 



HISTORICAL METHOD ' 69 

was to expel from the faithful the demons of madness 
and of all forms of sickness. 

But worse than this. We know from Mr. Robertson 
and Dr. Drews that the same Proto-Christian Joshua- 
God, who was waging war in heaven on the pagan 
gods and goddesses, was himself a composite myth 
made up of memories of Krishna, ^sculapius, Osiris, 
Apollo, Dionysus, ApoUonius, and a hundred other 
fiends. Mr. Robertson attests this, p. 305, in these 
words: " As we have seen and shall see throughout 
this investigation, the Christian system is a patchwork 
of a hundred suggestions drawn from pagan art and 
ritual usage." 

Is it quite appropriate that the pre-Christian Jesus 
or Joshua should turn and rend his pagan congeners 
in the manner described by Professor W. B. Smith ? 
His mythical antecedents, as ascertained by Mr. 
Robertson and Dr. Drews, are grotesquely incom- 
patible with the role of monotheistic founder 
assigned him by Professor W. B. Smith. Are we to 
suppose that the learned and eloquent propagandists 
of his cult were aware of this incompatibility, and for 
that reason chose to veil their monotheistic propa- 
ganda in the decent obscurity of everyday demono- 
logical language ? 
Who was Mary, the mother of Jesus ? Mary 

Let Dr. Drews speak first :- Z^^r^n 

Now if Joseph, as we have already seen, was origi- 
nally a god, Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a goddess. 
Under the name of Maya, she is the mother of Agni — 
i.e., the principle of motherhood and creation simply, 
as which she is in the Rigveda at one time represented 
by the fire-producing wood, the soft pith, in which the 
fire-stick was whirled ; at another as the earth, with 
which the sky has mated. She appears under the 



70 HISTOEICAL METHOD 

same name as the mother of Buddha as well as of the 
Greek Hermes. She is identical with Maira (Maera) 
as, according to Pausanias, viii, 12, 48, the pleiad 
Maia, wife of Hephaistos was called. She appears 
among the Persians as the "virgin'' mother of 
Mithras. As Myrrha she is the mother of the Syrian 
Adonis ; as Semiramis, mother of the Babylonian 
Ninus (Marduk). In the Arabic legend she appears 
under the name of Mirzam as mother of the mythical 
saviour Joshua ; while the Old Testament gives this 
name to the virgin sister of that Joshua who was so 
closely related to Moses ; and, according to Eusebius, 
Merris was the name of the Egyptian princess who 
found Moses in a basket and became his foster mother. 

The above purpureus pannus is borrowed by Dr. 
Drews in the second edition of his work from Mr. 
Eobertson's book, p. 297. Here is the original : — 

It is not possible from the existing data to connect 
historically such a cult with its congeners ; but the 
mere analogy of names and epithets goes far. The 
mother of Adonis, the slain " Lord '' of the great 
Syrian cult, is Myrrha ; and Myrrha in one of her 
myths is the weeping tree from which the babe Adonis 
is born. Again, Hermes, the Greek Logos, has for 
mother Maia, whose name has further connections 
with Mary. In one myth Maia is the daughter of 
Atlas, thus doubling with Maira, who has the same 
father, and who, having " died a virgin," was seen by 
Odysseus in Hades. Mythologically, Maira is identi- 
fied with the Dog-Star, which is the star of Isis. Yet 
again, the name appears in the East as Maya, the 
virgin-mother of Buddha ; and it is remarkable that, 
according to a Jewish legend, the name of the Egyptian 
princess who found the babe Moses was Merris. The 
plot is still further thickened by the fact that, as we 
learn from the monuments, one of the daughters of 
Eamses II was named Meri. And as Meri meant 
" beloved," and the name was at times given to men, 
besides being used in the phrase " beloved of the gods," 
the field of mythic speculation is wide. 



HISTOEICAL METHOD ' 71 

And we feel that it is, indeed, wide, when, on p. 301, 
the three Marias mentioned by Mark are equated 
with the three Moirai or Fates ! 

In another passage we meet afresh with one of these 
equations, p. 306. It runs thus : " On the hypothesis 
that the mythical Joshua, son of Miriam, was an 
early Hebrew deity, it may be that one form of the 
Tammuz cult in pre-Christian times was a worship of 
a mother and child — Mary and Adonis ; that, in short, 
Maria = Myrrha, and that Jesus was a name of 
Adonis." 

From such deliverances we gather that in Mr. Pre-philo- 
Kobertson and his disciples we have survivals of arguments 
a stage of culture which may be called prephilological. 
A hundred years ago or more the most superficial 
resemblance of sound was held to be enough of a 
ground for connecting words and names together, and 
Oxford divines were busy deriving all other tongues 
from the Hebrew spoken in the Garden of Eden by 
Adam and Eve. Mr. Robertson sets himself (p. 139) 
to ridicule these old-fashioned writers, and regales us 
with not a few examples of that over-facile identifica- 
tion of cult names that have no real mutual affinity 
which was then in vogue. Thus Krishna was held to 
be a corruption of Christ by certain oriental mis- 
sionaries, just as, inversely, within my memory, 
certain English Rationalists argued the name Christ 
to be a disguise of Krishna. So Brahma was identified 
with Abraham, and Napoleon with the Apollyon of 
Revelation. One had hoped that this phase of 
culture was past and done with ; but Messrs. Robertson 
and Drews revive it in their books, and seem anxious 
to perpetuate it. As with names, so with myths. On 
their every page we encounter — to use the apt phrase 



method 



72 HISTOEICAL METHOD 

of M. Emile Dnrkheim^ — ces rapprochements tumid- 
tueux et sommaires qui ont discredits la methode compara- 
tive aupres d'un certain nomhre de bans esprits. 
of coLpl^- '^^^ one condition of advancing knowledge and 
ratiye ^ clearing men's minds of superstition and cant by 
application of the comparative method in religion, is 
that we should apply it, as did Robertson Smith and 
his great predecessor. Dr. John Spencer,^ cautiously, 
and in a spirit of scientific scholarship. It does not do 
to argue from superficial resemblances of sound that 
Maria is the same name as the Greek Moira, or 
that the name Maia has "connections with Mary"; 
or, again, that " the name (Maria) appears in the East 
as Maya." The least acquaintance with Hebrew 
would have satisfied Mr. Eobertson that the original 
form of the name he thus conjures with is not Maria, 
but Miriam, which does not lend itself to his hardy 
equations. I suspect he is carried away by the parti 
pris which leaks out in the following passage of his 
henchman and imitator, Dr. Drews^ : " The romantic 

cult of Jesus must be combated at all costs This 

cannot be done more effectually than by taking its 
basis in the theory of the historical Jesus from 
beneath its feet." 

If " at all costs " means at the cost of common sense 
and scholarship, I cannot agree. I am not disposed, 
at the invitation of any self-constituted high priest of 
Rationalism, to derive old Hebrew names from 
Egyptian, Greek, and Buddhist appellations that 



1 La Vie Religieuse, p. 134. 

2 In his De legibus Hehraeoram ritualibus et earum rationibus 
libri tres, printed at the Hague in 1686, but largely written twenty 
years earlier. 

3 The Christ Myth, 2nd ed., p. 18. 



HISTORICAL METHOD ' 73 

happen to show an initial and one or two other letters 
in common. I will not believe that a " Christist " of 
Alexandria or Jerusalem, in the streets of which the 
Latin language was seldom or never heard, took the 
epithet bifrons in a wrong sense, and straightway 
invented the story of a Peter who had denied Jesus. 
I cannot admit that the cults of Osiris, Dionysus, 
Apollo, or any other ancient Sun-god, are echoed in 
a single incident narrated in the primitive evangelical 
tradition that lies before us in Mark and the non- 
Marcan document used by the authors of the first 
and third Gospels ; I do not believe that any really 
educated man or woman would for a moment entertain 
any of the equations propounded by Mr. Robertson, 
and of which I have given a few select examples. 

Mr. Marett, in his essay entitled The Birth of Marettou 
Humility, by way of criticizing certain modern abuses ™^'"°" 
of the comparative method in the field of the investiga- 
tion of the origin of moral ideas and religious beliefs, 
has justly remarked that " No isolated fragment of 
custom or belief can be worth much for the purposes 
of comparative science. In order to be understood, it 
must first be viewed in the light of the whole culture, 
the whole corporate soul-life, of the particular ethnic 
group concerned. Hence the new way is to emphasize 
concrete differences, whereas the old way was to amass 
resemblances heedlessly abstracted from their social 
context. Which way is the better is a question that 
well-nigh answers itself." 

Apply the above rule to nascent Christianity. In 
the Synoptic Gospels Jesus ever speaks as a Jew to 
Jews. Jewish monotheism is presupposed by the 
authors of them to have been no less the heritage of 
Jesus than of his audiences. The rare exceptions are 



74 HISTOEICAL METHOD 

carefully noticed by them. This consideration has so 
impressed Professor W. B. Smith that he urges the 
thesis that the Christian rehgion originated as a 
monotheist propaganda. That is no doubt an 
exaggeration, for it was at first a Messianic move- 
ment or impulse among Jews, and therefore did not 
need to set the claims of monotheism in the fore- 
ground, and, accordingly, in the Synoptic Gospels 
they are nowhere urged. In spite of this exaggera- 
tion, however, Mr. Smith's book occupies a higher 
plane than the works of Dr. Drews and Mr. Eobertson, 
insofar as he shows some slight insight into the 
original nature of the religion, whereas they show 
none at all. They merely, in Mr. Marett's phrase, 
" amass resemblances [would they were even such !] 
heedlessly abstracted from their context," and resolve 
a cult which, as it appears on the stage of history, is 
Jewish to its core, of which the Holy Scripture was 
no other than the Law and the Prophets, and of which 
the earliest documents, as Mr. Selwyn has shown, are 
saturated with the Jewish Septuagint — they try to 
resolve this cult into a tagrag and bobtail of Greek 
and Eoman paganism, of Buddhism, of Brahmanism, 
of Mithraism (hardly yet born), of Egyptian, African, 
Assyrian, old Persian,^ and any other religions with 
which these writers have a second-hand and superficial 
acquaintance. Never once do they pause and ask 
themselves the simple questions : firstly, how the 
early Christians came to be imbued with so intimate 



1 It is possible, of course, that Jewish Messianic and apocalyptic 
lore in the first century b. c. had been more or less evolved through 
contact with the religion ol Zoroaster ; but this lore, as we meet with 
it in the Gospels, derives exclusively from Jewish sources, and was part 
of the common stock of popular Jewish aspirations. 



HISTORICAL METHOD • 75 

a knowledge of idolatrous cults far and near, new and 
old ; secondly, why they set so much store by them 
as the mythico-symbolic hypothesis presupposes that 
they did ; and, thirdly, why, if they valued them so 
much, they were at pains to translate them into the 
utterly different and antagonistic form which they 
wear in the Gospels. In a word, why should such 
connoisseurs of paganism have disguised themselves 
as monotheistic and messianic Jews ? Mr. Eobertson 
tries to save his hypothesis by injecting a little dose 
of Judaism into his " Christists " and " Jesuists "; but 
anyone who has read Philo or Josephus or the Bible, 
not to mention the Apostolic Fathers and Justin 
Martyr, will see at a glance that there is no room in 
history for such a hybrid. 

That Mr. Eobertson should put his name to such Methods of 
works as Dr. Drews imitates and singles out for and^"^'^"" 
special praise is the more remarkable, because, in Lorinser 
urging the independence of certain Hindoo cults 
against Christian missionaries who want to see in 
them mere reflections of Christianity, he shows 
himself both critical and wide-minded. These charac- 
teristics he displays in his refutation of the opinion 
of a certain Dr. Lorinser that the dialogue between 
Krishna and the warrior Arjuna, known as the 
Bhagavat Gita and embodied in the old Hindoo Epic 
of the Mahabharata, "is a patchwork of Christian 
teaching." Dr. Lorinser had adduced a chain of 
passages from this document which to his mind are 
echoes of the New Testament. Though many of 
these exhibit a striking conformity with aphorisms of 
the Gospels, we are nevertheless constrained to agree 
with Mr. Kobertson's criticism, which is as follows 
(p. 262) :— 



76 HISTOEICAL METHOD 

The first comment that must occur to every 
instructed reader on perusing these and the other 
" parallels " advanced by Dr. Lorinser is, that on the 
one hand the parallels are very frequently such as 
could be made by the dozen between bodies of 
literature which have unquestionably never been 
brought in contact, so strained and far-fetched are 
they ; and that, on the other hand, they are discounted 
by quite as striking parallels between New Testament 
texts and pre-Christian pagan writings. 

Mr. Eobertson then adduces a number of striking 
parallelisms between the New Testament and old 
Greek and Roman writers, and continues thus : " Such 
parallels as these, I repeat, could be multijplied 
to any extent from the Greek and Latin classics 

alone But is it worthwhile to heap up the disproof 

of a thesis so manifestly idle ? " 

It occurs to ask whether it was not worth the while 
of Mr. Eobertson to inquire whether the Evangelist 
could " unquestionably have been brought in contact " 
with the Dionysiac group of myths before he assumed 
so dogmatically, against students of such weight as 
Professor Percy Gardner and Dr. Estlin Carpenter, 
that the myth of Bacchus meeting with a couple of 
asses on his way to Dodona was the " Christist's " 
model for the story of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on 
an ass ? Might he not have reflected that then, as 
now, there was no other way of entering Jerusalem 
unless you went on foot ? And what has Jerusalem 
to do with Dodona ? What has Bacchus's choice of 
one ass to ride on in common with Matthew's literary 
deformation, according to which Jesus rode on two 
asses at once ? Lastly, what had Bacchus to do with 
Jesus ? Has the Latin wine-god a single trait in 
common with the Christian founder ? Is it not 



HISTOEICAL METHOD ' 77 

rather the case that any conscious or even uncon- 
scious assimilation of Bacchus myths conflicts with 
what Mr. Marett would call " the whole culture, the 
whole corporate soul-life " of the early Christian 
community, as the surviving documents picture it, 
and other evidence we have not? Yet Mr. Robertson 
deduces from such paltry " parallels " as the above 
the conclusion that Jesus, on whose real personality 
a score of early and independent literary sources 
converge, never existed at all, and that he was a 
" composite myth." There is no other example of 
an eclectic myth arbitrarily composed by connoisseurs 
out of a religious art and story not their own ; still less 
of such a myth being humanized and accepted by the 
next generation as a Jewish Messiah. 

In the same context (p. 264) Mr. Robertson remarks 
sensibly enough that " No great research or reflec- 
tion is needed to make it clear that certain common- 
places of ethics as well as of theology are equally 
inevitable conclusions in all religious systems that 
rise above savagery. Four hundred years before 
Jesus, Plato declared that it was very difficult for the 
rich to be good; does anyone believe that any 
thoughtful Jew needed Plato's help to reach the 
same notion ? " 

I would ask, does anyone believe that a thoughtful 
Jew needed the stimulus of a statuette of Osiris in 
order that he should record, or, maybe, invent, the 
story of Jesus clearing the money-changers out of 
the temple with a scourge ? Even admitting — what 
I am as little as anyone inclined to admit — that the 
Peter of the early Gospels is, as regards his personality 
and his actions, a fable, a mere invention of a Jewish 
storyteller, need we suppose that the storyteller in 



78 HISTOEICAL METHOD 

question depended for his inspiration on Janus ? 
You might as well suppose that the authors of the 
Arabian Nights founded their stories on the myths of 
Greek and Roman gods. Again, the Jews were tradi- 
tionally distributed into twelve tribes or clans. Let 
us grant only for argument's sake that the life of 
Jesus the Messiah as narrated in the first three 
Gospels is a romance, we yet must ask, Which is more 
probable, that the author of the romance assigned 
twelve apostles to Jesus because there were twelve 
tribes to whom the message of the impending Kingdom 
of God had to be carried, or because there are twelve 
signs in the Zodiac ? He agrees (p. 347) that Luke's 
story of the choice of the seventy disciples " visibly 
connects with the Jewish idea that there were seventy 
nations in the world." Why, then, reject the view 
that Jesus chose twelve apostles because there were 
twelve tribes? Not at all. Having decided that 
Jesus was the Sun-God- Saviour Joshua, a pure 
figment of his brain, Mr. Robertson is ready to 
violate the canons of evidence he appeals to on p. 347, 
and will have it that in the Gospels the apostles are 
Zodiacal signs, and that their leader is Janus, the 
opener of the year. " The Zodiacal sign gives the 
clue " (p. 339), in his opinion, to this as to much else. 
Let us return to the case of Dr. Lorinser. " We 
are asked to believe that Brahmans expounding a 
highly-developed Pantheism went assiduously to the 
(unattainable) New Testament for the wording of a 
number of their propositions, pantheistic and other, 
while assimilating absolutely nothing of distinctively 

Christian doctrine Such a position is possible only 

to a mesmerized believer." Surely one may exclaim 
of Mr. Robertson, De te fabula narratur, and rewrite 



HISTOEICAL METHOD ' 79 

the above as follows: "We are asked to believe that 
' Christists,' who were so far Jewish as to practise 
circumcision, to use the Hebrew Scriptures, to live 
in Jerusalem under the presidency and patronage of 
the Jewish High-priest, to foster and propagate 
Jewish monotheism, went assiduously to the (unattain- 
able) rites, statuary, art, and beliefs of pagan India, 
Egypt, Ancient Babylon, Persia, etc., for all ' the 
narrative myths ' (p. 263) of the story in which they 
narrated the history of their putative founder Jesus, 
the Jewish Messiah, while assimilating absolutely 
nothing of distinctively pagan doctrine." 

Dr. Lorinser, for urging a thesis infinitely less 
absurd, is denounced as " a mesmerized believer "; 
and on the next page Dr. Weber, who agrees with 
him, is rebuked for his " judicial blindness." Yet in 
the same context we are told that " a crude and nalj 
system, like the Christism of the second gospel and 
the earlier form of the first, borrows inevitably from 
the more highly evolved systems with which it comes 
socially in contact, absorbing myth and mystery and 
dogma till it becomes as sophisticated as they." 

It is quite true, as Gibbon observed, that the naif 
figure of Jesus, as presented in the Synoptic Gospels, 
was soon overlaid with that of the logos, and all sorts 
of Christological cobwebs were within a few genera- 
tions spun around his head to the effaeement both of 
the teacher and of what he taught. But in the 
earliest body of the evangelical tradition, as we can 
construct it from thefirst three Gospels, there is little 
or nothing that is not essentially Jewish and racy of 
the soil of Judsea. The borrowings of Christianity 
from pagan neighbours began with the flocking into 
the new Messianic society of Gentile converts. The 



80 HISTOEICAL METHOD 

earlier borrowings with which Messrs. Eobertson 
and Drews fill their volumes are one and all " resem- 
blances heedlessly abstracted from their context," 
and are as far-fetched and as fanciful as the dreams 
of the adherents of the Banner of Israel, or as the 
cypher of the Bacon- Shaksperians, over which Mr. 
Eobertson is prone to make merry. "Is it," to use 
his own words, " worth while to heap up the disproof 
of a thesis so manifestly idle ?" 



Chapter II 
PAGAN MYSTERY PLAYS 

I CAN imagine some people arguing that Mark's Gospel ^^ Mark's 

might be a religious novel, of which the scene is laid religious 

in Jerusalem and Galilee among Jews ; that it was romance ? 

by a literary artifice impregnated with Jewish ideas ; 

that the references to Sadducees and Pharisees were 

introduced as appropriate to the age and clime ; that 

the old Jewish Scriptures are for the same reason 

acknowledged by all the actors and interlocutors as 

holy writ ; that demonolpgical beliefs were thrown in 

as being characteristic of Palestinian society of the time 

the writer purported to write about ; that it is of the 

nature of a literary trick that the peculiar Messianic 

and Apocalyptic beliefs and aspirations rife among Jews 

of the period b.c. 50-a.d. 160 and later, are made to 

colour the narrative from beginning to end. All these 

elements of verisimilitude, I say, taken singly or 

together, do not of necessity exclude the hypothesis 

that it may be one of the most skilfully constructed 

historical novels ever written. Have we not, it may 

be urged, in the Recognitions or Itinerary of Saint 

Clement, in the Acts of Thomas, in the story of Paul 

and Thecla, similar compositions ? 

In view of what we know of the dates and diffusion Certainly 

of the Gospels, of their literary connections with one way as- 

another, and of the reappearance of their chief sumedby 
..,_,., Drews and 

persona dramatis m the Pauline letters, such a hypo- Bobertson, 

81 a 



82 PAGAN MYSTBEY PLAYS 

thesis is of course wildly improbable, yet not utterly 
absurd. We have to assume in the writer a know- 
ledge of the Messianic movement among the Jews, a 
familiarity with their demonological beliefs and 
practices, with their sects, and so forth ; and it is all 
readily assumable. In the Greek novel of Chariton 
we have an example of such an historical romance, 
the scene being laid in Syracuse and Asia Minor 
shortly after the close of the Peloponnesian war. But 
such romances are not cult documents of a parabolic 
or allegorical kind, as the Gospels are supposed by 
these writers to be. They do not bring a divine being 
down from Olympus, and pretend all through that he 
was a man who was born, lived, and died on the cross 
in a particular place and at a particular date. We 
have no other example of documents whose authors, 
by way of honouring a God up in heaven who never 
made any epiphany on earth nor ever underwent 
incarnation, made a man of him, and concocted an 
elaborate earthly record of him. Why did they do 
it? What was the object of the " Jesuists " and 
" Christists " in hoaxing their own and all subsequent 
generations and in building up a lasting cult and 
Church on what they knew were fables ? 
whose In the Homeric hymns and other religious docu- 

is'^seif-des- ments not only of the Greeks, but of the Hindoos, we 
tractive, j^ave no doubt histories of the gods written by their 
votaries ; but in these hymns they put down what 
they believed, they did not of set design falsify the 
legend of the god, and describe his birth and 
parentage, when they knew he never had any ; his 
ministrations and teaching career, when he never 
ministered or taught; his persecution by enemies 
and his death, when he was never persecuted and 



PAGAN MYSTEEY PLAYS 83 

never died. Or are we to suppose that all these 
things were related in the Sun-god Joshua legend? 
No, reply Messrs. Drews and Robertson. For the 
stories told in the Gospels are all modelled on pagan 
or astral myths ; the persons who move in their pages 
are the gods and demigods of Egyptian, Greek, Latin, 
Hindoo legends. Clearly the Saviour-God Joshua 
had no legend or story of his own, or it would not 
be necessary to pad him out with the furniture 
and appurtenances of Osiris, Dionysus, Serapis, 
^sculapius, and who knows what other gods besides. 
And — strangest feature of all — it is Jews, men cir- 
cumcised, propagandists of Jewish monotheism, who, 
in the interests of "a Judaic cult" (p. 348), go 
rummaging in all the dustbins of paganism, in order 
to construct a legend or allegory of their god. Why 
could they not rest content with him as they found 
him in their ancient tradition ? 

The Gospels, like any other ancient document, and irre- 
have to be accounted for. They did not engender ^jth as- 
themselves, like a mushroom, nor drop out of heaven certained 
ready written. I have admitted as possible, though Judaism 
wild and extravagant, the hypothesis of their being a 
Messianic romance, which subsequently came to be 
mistaken for sober history ; and there are of course 
plenty of legendary incidents in their pages. But 
such a hypothesis need not be discussed. It is not 
that of these three authors, and would not suit them. 
They insist on seeing in them so many manifestoes of 
the secret sect of Jews who worshipped a god Joshua. 
Tor Dr. Drews and Mr. Robertson the Gospels describe 
a "Jesuine" mystery play evolved "from a Pales- 
tinian rite of human sacrifice in which the annual 
victim was ' Jesus the Son of the Father.' " There is 



84 PAGAN MYSTEEY PLAYS 

no trace in Jewish antiquity of any such rite in 

epochs which even remotely preceded Christianity, 

nor is the survival of such a rite of human sacrifice 

even thinkable in Jerusalem, where the " Christists " 

laid their plot. And why should they eke out their 

plot with a thousand scraps of pagan mythology ? 

Prof. ^ I -^-as taught in my childhood to venerate the 

hypothesis Gospels ; but I never knew before what really 

ofamythi- -^onderful documents they are. Let us, however, 

coil tlfJSU^ 

mythically turn to Profcssor W. B. Smith, who does not pile on 

human- paganism so profusely as his friends, nor exactly 

monothe- insist on a pagan basis for the Gospels. His hypo- 

istiepropa- t^jesis in brief is identical with theirs, for he insists 
ganda, 

that Jesus the man never existed at all. Jesus is, in 

Professor Smith's phrase, " a humanized God "; in the 
diction of Messrs. Drews and Robertson, a mj'th. 
Professor Smith allows (Ecce Deus, p. 78) that the 
mere " fact that a myth, or several myths, may be 
found associated with the name of an individual by 
no means relegates that individual into the class of 
the unhistorical." That is good sense, and so is 
the admission which follows, that " we may often 
explain the legends from the presence of the historical 
personality, independently known to be historic." But 
in regard to Jesus alone among the figures of the past 
he, like his friends, rules out both considerations. 
' The common starting-point of all three writers is that 
the earliest Gospel narratives do not " describe an^f 
human character at all ; on the contrary, the indivi- 
duality in question is distinctly divine and not human, 
in the earliest portrayal. As time goes on it is true 
that certain human elements do creep in, particularly 

in Luke and John In Mark there is really no man 

at all ; the Jesus is God, or at least essentially divine. 



PAGAN MYSTEEY PLAYS '85 

throughout. He wears only a transparent garment 
of flesh. Mark historizes only." 

How is it, we ask, that humanity has pored over ^'^'j|^lj.^^^ 
the Synoptic Gospels for nearly two thousand years, tion.deaes 
and discerned in them the portraiture at least of a "^^ texts, 
man of flesh and blood, who can be imaged as such 
in statuary and painting ? Even if it were conceded, 
as I said above, that the Gospel representation of 
Jesus is an imaginary portrait, like that of William 
Tell or John Inglesant, still, who, that is not mad, 
will deny that there exist in it multiple human 
traits, fictions may be of a novelist, yet indisputably 
there ? Mr. Smith's hardy denial of them can only 
lead his readers to suspect him of paradox. More- 
over, the champions of traditional orthodoxy have had 
in the past every reason to side with Professor Smith 
in his attempted elimination of all human traits and 
characteristics. Yet in recent years they have been 
constrained to admit that in Luke and John the 
human elements, far from creeping in, show signs of 
creeping out. " The received notion," adds Professor 
Smith, " that in the early Marcan narratives the 
Jesus is distinctly human, and that the process of 
deification is fulfilled in John, is precisely the reverse 
of the truth." Once more we rub our eyes. In 
Mark Jesus is little more than that most familiar of 
old Jewish figures, an earthly herald of the imminent - 
kingdom of heaven ; late and little by little he is 
recognized by his followers as himself the Messiah 
whose advent he formerly heralded. As yet he is 
neither divine nor the incarnation of a pre-existent 
quasi-divine Logos or angel. In John, on the other 
hand, Jesus has emerged from the purely Jewish 
phase of being Messiah, or servant of God (which is 



them 



86 PAGAN MYSTEEY PLAYS 

all that Lord or So7i of Gocl^ implies in Mark's 
opening verses). He has become the eternal Logos 
or Reason, essentially divine and from the beginning 
and rests with God. Here obviously we are well on our way 
obsolete *° ^ deification of Jesus and an elimination of human 
and traits ; and the writer is so conscious of this that he 

aUegoriza- 8°^^ °^'' °^ ^i^ ^^J *'° ^^^^ ^^^ attention to the fact 
tion of that Jesus was after all a man of flesh and blood, 
with human parents and real brethren who disbelieved 
in him. He was evidently conscious that the super- 
imposition on the man Jesus of the Logos scheme, 
and the reflection back into the human life of Jesus 
of the heavenly role which Paul ascribed to him qua 
raised by the Spirit from the dead, was already 
influencing certain believers (called Docetes) to 
believe that his human life and actions were illusions, 
seen and heard indeed, as we see and hear a man 
speak and act in a dream, but not objective and real. 
To guard against this John proclaims that he was 
made flesh. Nevertheless, he goes half way with the 
Docetes in that he rewrites all the conversations of 
Jesus, abolishes the homely parable, and substitutes 
his own theosophic lucubrations. He also emphasizes 
the miraculous aspect of Jesus, inventing new miracles 
more grandiose than any in previous gospels, but of 
a kind, as he imagines, to symbolize his conceptions 
of sin and death. He is careful to eliminate the 
demonologieal stories. They were as much of a 
stumbling-block to John as we have seen them to be 

1 In Mark xv, 39, the utterance of the heathen centurion, " truly 
this man was a Son of God," can obviously not have been inspired 
by messianic conceptions ; it can have meant no more than that he 
was more than human, as Damis realized his master Apollonius to 
be on more than one occasion. Nor can Mark have intended to 
attribute Jewish conceptions to a pagan soldier. 



PAGAN MYSTEEY PLAYS ' 87 

to Mr. W. B. Smith. We must, therefore, perforce 
accuse the latter of putting a hypothesis that from the 
outset is a paradox. The documents contradict him 
on every page. 

A thesis that begins by flying in the face of the '^^^.■, .. 
documents demands paradoxical arguments for its robber 
support ; and the pages of all three writers teem with ^^'f^ 
them. Of a Jesus that is God from the first it is have been 
perhaps natural to ask — anyhow our authors have selected as 
asked it of themselves — which God was he? And of Jesus? 
the accident of his bearing the name Jesus — he might 
just as well have been called Jacob or Sadoc or 
Manasseh, or what not — suggests Joshua to them, 
for Joshua is the Hebrew name which in the LXX 
was Grecized as lesoue, and later as lesous. That in 
the Old Testament Joshua is depicted as a cut-throat 
and leader of brigands, very remote in his principles 
and practice from the Jesus of the Gospels, counts for 
nothing. The late Dr. Winckler, who saw sun and 
moon myths rising like exhalations all around him 
wherever he looked in ancient history and mythology,^ 
has suggested that Joseph was originally a solar hero. 
Ergo, Joshua was one too. Ergo, there was a Hebrew 
secret society in Jerusalem in the period b.c. 150- 

1 For example, he gravely asserts (Die Weltanschauung des tn Alten (7~) 
Orients, Leipzig, 1904, p. 41) that Saul's melancholy is explicable as 
a myth of the monthly eclipsing of the moon's light! Perhaps 
Hamlet's melancholy was of the same mythic origin. A map of the 
stars is Winokler's, no less than Jensen's, guide to all mythologies. 
But, to do him justice, Winckler never fell into the last absurdity of 
supposing that Jews at the beginning of our era were engaged in a 
secret cult of a Sun-god named Joshua ; on the contrary, he declares 
(op. cit., p. 96), that, just in proportion as we descend the course of 
time, we approach an age in which the heroes of earlier myth are 
brought down to the level of earth. This humanization of the Joshua 
myth was, he held, complete when the book of Joshua was com- 
pUed. 



88 PAGAN MYSTERY PLAYS 

A.D. 50 who worshipped the Sun-God-Saviour Joshua. 
Ergo, the Gospels are a sustained parable of this Sun- 
god. Thus are empty, wild, and unsubstantiated 
hypotheses piled one on top of the other, like Pelion 
on Ossa. Not a scintilla of evidence is adduced for 
any one of them. First one is advanced, and its 
truth assumed. The next is propped on it, et sic ad 
infinitum. 
Whymake ^hat, asks Professor Smith {Ecce Deus, p. 67), 
central was the active principle of Christianity? What its 
figure of a germ? "The monotheistic impulse," he answers, 
isticouit? "the instinct for unity that lies at the heart of all 
grand philosophy and all noble religion." Again, 
p. 45 : " What was the essence of this originally 
secret Jesus cult, that was expressed in such guarded 
parabolic terms as made it unintelligible to the 

multitude? It was a protest against idolatry; it 

was a Crusade for monotheism." 
The This is, no doubt, true of Christianity when we 

Christian- pass outside the Gospels. It is only not true of them, 
itywasno because on their every page Jewish monotheism is 
istic presupposed. Why are no warnings against poly- 

propa- theism put into the mouth of Jesus ? Why is not a 
single precept of the Sermon on the Mount directed 
against idolatry ? Surely because we are moving in 
a Jewish atmosphere in which such warnings were 
unnecessary. The horizon is purely Jewish, either 
of Jerusalem as we know it in the pages of Josephus 
or of certain Galilean circles in which even a know- 
ledge of Greek seems not to have existed before the 
third century. The very proximity of Greek cities 
there seems to have confirmed the Jewish peasant of 
that region in his preference of Aramaic idiom, just 
as the native of Bohemia to-day turns his back on 



PAGAN MYSTERY PLAYS - 89 

you if you address him in the detested German 
tongue. 

Messrs. Robertson and Drews concede that the ^°^^^^°^^ 
original stock of Christianity was Jewish. Thus we allow the 
read in Christianity and Mythology (p. 415) that the ^^'Jg''jJ'g„° 
Lord's Prayer derives " from pre-Christian Jewish lore, mainly 
and, like parts of the Sermon (on the Mount), from an l^J^f^'^" 
actually current Jewish document." The same writer feeling 
admits (p. 338) the existence of "Judaic sections of 
the early Church." When he talks (p. 337) of the 
tale of the anointing of Jesus in Matthew xxvi, 6-13, 
and parallel passages, being " in all probability a 
late addendum" to the " primitive gospel " of Bern- 
hard Weiss's theory, " made after the movement had 
become pronouncedly Gentile," he presupposes that, 
to start with anyhow, the movement was mainly 
Jewish. He admits that in the first six paragraphs 
of the early Christian document entitled the Didache 
we have a purely Jewish teaching document, " which 
the Jesuist sect adopted in the first or second century." 
He cannot furthermore contest the fact that the 
Jesuists "took over the Jewish Scriptures as their 
sacred book ; that they inherited the Jewish passover 
and the Paschal lamb, which is still slain in Eastern 
churches ; that the leaders of the secret sect in 
Jerusalem upheld the Jewish rite of circumcision 
against Paul."^ All this is inconceivable if the 
society was not in the main and originally one of 
Hebrews. When he goes on to argue that the 
Gospels are the manifesto of a cult of an old Sun- 



1 Cp. p. 342 : " In all his allusions to the movement of his day he 
(Paul) is dealing with Judaizing apostles who preached circumcision." 
And p. 348 : " Paul's Cephas is simply one of the apostles of a Judaic 
cult that preaches circumcision." 



90 



PAGAN MYSTEEY PLAYS 



If so, how 
could they 
devote 
them- 
selves to 
pagan 
mystery 
plays ? 



Eobertson 

admits 

that Jews 

could 

never 

borrow 

from 

pagan 

rituals in 

that age 



god Joshua, son of a mythic Miriam, he at least 
admits that the early " Christists " selected from 
ancient Jewish superstition, and not from pagan 
myth, the central figure of their cult, and that they 
chose for their deity a successor and satellite of 
Moses with a Hebrew lady for his mother. We may 
take it for granted, then, that the parent society out 
of which the Christian Church arose was profoundly 
and radically Jewish ; and Mr. Robertson frankly 
admits as much when he affirms that " it was a 
Judaic cult that preached circumcision" and that " its 
apostles with whom Paul was in contact were of a 
Jiulaizing description." Here is common ground 
between myself and him. 

What I want to know is how it came about that 
a society of which Jerusalem was the focus, and 
of which the nucleus and propagandists were Jews and 
Judaizers, could have been given over to the cult of a 
solar god, and how they could celebrate mystery plays 
and dramas in honour of that god ; how they can 
have manufactured that god into " a composite myth " 
(p. 336), and constructed in his honour a religious 
system that was " a patchwork of a hundred suggestions 
drawn from pagan art and ritual usage." For such, 
we are told (p. 305), was " the Christian system." 

We are far better acquainted with Jewish belief and 
ritual during the period B.C. 400-a.d. 100 than we are 
with that of the pagans. The content of the Greek 
mysteries is an enigma to our best Hellenists ; we 
know next to nothing of the inside of Mithraism ; for 
the oriental cults of the late Roman republic and early 
empire we are lamentably deficient in writings that 
might exhibit to us the arcana of their worship and 
the texture of their beliefs. Not so with Judaism. 



PAGAN MYSTEEY PLAYS ' 91 

Here we have the prophets, old and late ; for the two 
centuries b.o. we have the apocrypha, including the 
Maccabean books ; we have the so-called Books of 
E noeh, of Jubilees, of the Twelve Patriarchs, the Fourth 
Ezra, Baruch, Sirach, and many others. We have 
the voluminous works of Philo and Josephus for the 
first century of our era ; we have the Babylonian and 
other Talmuds preserving to us a wealth of Jewish 
tradition and teaching of the first and second cen- 
turies. Here let Mr. Robertson speak. As regards 
the Lord's Prayer and the Sermon on the Mount, he 
insists (p. 415 foil.) that they were inspired by parallel 
passages in the Talmud and the Apocrypha, and he 
argues with perfect good sense for the priority of the 
Talmud in these words : "It is hardly necessary to 
remark here that the Talmudic parallels to any part 
of the Sermon on the Mount cannot conceivably have 
been borrowed from the Christian gospels ; they would 
as soon have borrowed from the rituals of the pagans." 

And yet he asks us to believe that a nucleus of ^^^j^^'™^ 
Jews, hidden in Jerusalem, the heart of Judaism, a christists, 
sect whose apostles were Judaizers and vehement '"'^g^'^big 
defenders of circumcision — all this he admits — -were, from Jews, 
as late as the last half of the first century, maintain- ^q,.^^^ 
ing among themselves in secret a highly eclectic pagan wholesale 
cult ; that they evolved " a gospel myth from scenes in 
pagan art " (p. 327) ; that they took a sort of modern 
archaeological interest in pagan art and sculpture, 
and derived thence most of their literary motifs ; that 
the figure of Jesus is an alloy of Dionysus, Osiris, 
Adonis, Krishna, .^seulapius, and fifty other ancient 
gods and demigods, with the all-important " Sun-God- 
Saviour Joshua, son of Miriam "; that the story of 
Peter rests on " a pagan basis of myth " (p. 340) ; 



92 PAGAN MYSTEEY PLAYS 

that Maria is the true and original form of the Hebrew 

Miriam, and is the same name as Myrrha and Moira 

ifioipa), etc., etc. 

Theeen- gucji are the mutually destructive arguments on 

of a God the strength of which we are to adopt his thesis of the 

Joshua a unhistoricity of Jesus. His books, like those of Dr. 

figment of ■' til 

Eobert- Drews, are a welter of contradictory statements, un- 

son's reconciled and irreconcilable. Nevertheless, they 

reiterate them in volume after volume, like orthodox 
Christians reiterating articles of faith and dogmas too 
sacred to be discussed. Who ever heard before them 
of a Jewish cult of a Sun-God-Saviour Joshua? Such 
a cult must have been long extinct when the book of 
Joshua was written. Who ever heard of this Sun-god 
having for his mother a Miriam, until Mr. Eobertson 
discovered a late Persian gloss to the effect that Joshua, 
son of Nun, had a mother of the name ? Even if this 
tradition were not so utterly worthless as it is, it 
would prove nothing about the Sun-god. On the 
basis of such gratuitous fancies we are asked to 
It does not dismiss Jesus as a myth. It does not even help 
plain the ^s to Understand how the myths of the Virgin Birth 
birth arose. Since when, I would like to know, did we need 

of the such evidence against that legend ? If I thought that 
Christians t^jg rebuttal of it depended on such evidence, I should 
be inclined to become a good Papist and embrace it. 
It is enough for me to have ascertained, by a com- 
parison of texts and by a study of early Christian 
documents, that it is a late accretion on the traditions 
of Jesus of Nazareth. That is the real evidence, if any 
be wanted, against it. Mr. Robertson admits that the 
first two chapters of Luke which are supposed — 
perhaps wrongly — to embody this legend are " a late 
fabulous introduction." Again he writes (p. 189) : 



PAGAN MYSTEEY PLAYS 93 

"Only the late Third Gospel tells the story (of 
Luke i and ii) ; the narrative (of the Birth) in 
Matthew, added late as it was to the original com- 
position, which obviously began at what is now the 
third chapter, has no hint of the taxing." 

This is good sense, and I am indebted to him for Evidence 
pointing out that so loosely was the myth compacted tevange- 
that in the Protevangelion (c. 17) the statement is ^i°° 
that it was decreed " that all should be enrolled who 
were in Bethlehem of Judsea," not all Jews over the 
entire world. 

Surely all this implies that the legend of the Robertson 
miraculous birth was no part of the earliest tradition t^e anti- 
about Jesus. Nevertheless, it is so important for quityof 
Mr. Robertson's thesis (that Jesus was a mythical merely to 
personage) that he should from the first have had suit his 
a mythical mother, that he insists on treating the 
whole of Christian tradition, early or late, as a solid 
block, and argues steadily that the Virgin Birth 
legend was an integral part of it from the beginning. 
Jesus was a myth ; as such he must have had a 
myth for a mother. Now a virgin mother is half-way 
to being a mythical one. Therefore Mary was a virgin, 
and must from the beginning have been regarded as 
such by the " Christists." Such are the steps of his 
reasoning. 

I have adduced in the preceding pages a selection The 

of the mythological equations of Mr. Eobertson and ists ■• at 

Dr. Drews in order that my readers may realize how °°°^ ^^'™" 

faint a resemblance between stories justifies, in their pagan and 

minds, a derivation or borrowing of one from the extrava- 

other. Nor do they ever ask themselves how Jewish mono- 

" Christists " were likely to come in contact with out- theist and 
'' Jewish 

of-the-way legends of Bacchus or Dionysus, of Hermes, 



94 PAGAN MYSTEEY PLAYS 

of old Pelasgic deities, of Cybele and Atfcis and Isis, 
Osiris and Horus, of Helena Dendrites, of Krishna, of 
Janus, of sundry ancient vegetation-gods (for they are 
up to the newest lights), of Apollonius of Tyana, of 
^sculapius, of Herakles and Oceanus, of Saoshyant 
and other old Persian gods and heroes, of Buddha 
and his kith and kin, of the Eleusinian and other 
ancient mysteries. Prick them with a pin, and out 
gushes this lore in a copious flood ; and every item of 
it is supposed to have filled the heads of the polymath 
authors of the Christian Gospels. Every syllable of 
these Gospels, every character in them, is symbolic 
of one or another of these gods and heroes. Hear, 
Israel : " Christians borrowed myths of all kinds from 
Paganism " (Christianity and Mythology, p. xii). And 
we are pompously assured (p. xxii, op. cit.) that this 
new " mythic " system is, " in general, more ' positive,' 
more inductive, less a priori, more obedient to scien- 
tific canons, than that of the previous critics known to 
me [i.e., to Mr. Eobertson] who have reached similar 
anti-traditional results. It substitutes an anthropo- 
logical basis, in terms of the concrete phenomena 
of mythology, for a pseudo-philosophical presup- 
position." Heaven help the new science of anthro- 
pology ! 
A receipt And what end, we may ask, had the "Jesuists" 
concoction a^d " Christists " (to use Mr. Robertson's jargon) in 
of a view, when they dressed up all this tagrag and bobtail 

of pagan myth, art, and ritual, and disguised it under 
the form of a tale of Messianic Judaism ? For that and 
nothing else is, on this theory, the basis and essence of 
the Gospels. Was it their aim to honour paganism or 
to honour Jewish monotheism, when they concocted a 
" Christ cult " which is " a synthesis of the two most 



PAGAN MYSTEEY PLAYS 95 

popular pagan myth-motives,^ with some Judaic 
elements as nucleus and some explicit ethical teach- 
ing superadded" (p. 34). We must perforce suppose 
that the Gospels were a covert tribute to the worth 
and value of Pagan mythology and religious dramas, 
to pagan art and statuary. If we adopt the mythico- 
symbolical method, they can have been nothing else. 
Its sponsors might surely condescend to explain the 
alchemy by which the ascertained rites and beliefs of 
early Christians were distilled from these antecedents. 
The effect and the cause are so entirely disparate, so 
devoid of any organic connection, that we would fain 
see the evolution worked out a little more clearly. At 
one end of it we have a hurly-burly of pagan myths, 
at the other an army of Christian apologists inveighing 
against everything pagan and martyred for doing so, 
all within a space of sixty or seventy years. I only 
hope the orthodox will be gratified to learn that their 
Scriptures are a thousandfold more wonderful and 
unique than they appeared to be when they were 
merely inspired by the Holy Spirit. For verbal 
inspiration is not, as regards its miraculous quality, 
in the same field with mythico-symbolism. Verily we 
have discovered a new literary genus, unexampled in 
the history of mankind. You rake together a thousand 
irrelevant thrums of mythology, picked up at random 
from every age, race, and clime ; you get a " Christist " 
to throw them into a sack and shake them up ; you open 
it, and out come the Gospels. In all the annals of the 
Bacon- Shakespeareans we have seen nothing like it. 

1 To wit, of a Sun-god, who is also Mithras and Osiris, and of 
a Vegetation-god annually slain on the sacred tree. We are gravely 
informed that "not till Dr. Frazer had done his work was the 
psychology of the process ascertained." Dr. Frazer must be blushing 
at this tribute to his psychological insight. 



Chapter III 
THE ARGUMENT FROM SILENCE 

Muitiplio- I HAVE remarked above that if the Gospel of Mark 
documents ^^"^^ ^^ isolated writing, if we knew nothing of its 
converging fortunes, nothing of any society that accepted it as 
involving history ; if, above all, we were without any independent 
an histori- documents that fitted in with it and mentioned the 
persons and events that crowd its pages, then it 
would be a possible hypothesis that it was like the 
Recognitions of Clement, a skilfully contrived romance. 
Such a hypothesis, I said, would indeed be improbable, 
yet not unthinkable or self-destructive. But as a 
matter of fact we have an extensive series of docu- 
ments, independent of Mark, yet attesting by their 
undesigned coincidences its historicity — not, of course, 
in the sense that we must accept everything in it, 
but anyhow in the sense that it is largely founded on 
fact and is a record of real incident. Were it a mere 
romance of events that never happened, and of people 
who never lived, would it not be a first-class miracle 
that in another romance, concocted apart from it and 
in ignorance of its contents, the same outline of 
events met our gaze, the same personages, the same 
atmosphere, moral, intellectual, and religious, the same 
interests ? If in a third and fourth writing the same 
phenomenon recurred, the marvel would be multiplied. 
Would any sane person doubt that there was a sub- 
stratum of fact and real history underlying them all ? 

96 



THE AEGUMENT FROM SILENCE 97 

It -would be as if several tables in the gambling 
saloon of Monte Carlo threw up the same series of 
numbers — say, 8, 3, 11, 7, 33, 21 — simultaneously 
and independently of one another. A few of the 
habitues — for Monte Carlo is a great centre of super- 
stition — might take refuge in the opinion that the 
tables were bewitched ; but most men would infer 
that there was human collusion and conspiracy to 
produce such a result, and that the croupiers of the 
several tables were in the plot. 

Now Mark's Gospel does not stand alone. As I Mark and 
have pointed out in Myth, Magic, and Morals, Luke earliest^^° 
and Matthew hold in solution as it were a second documents 
document, called Q (Quelle), or the non-Marcan, 
which yields us a few incidents and a great many 
sayings and parables of Jesus. Now this second 
document, so utterly separate from and independent 
of Mark that it does not even allude to the cruci- 
fixion and death episodes, nevertheless has Jesus all 
through for its central figure. No doubt it ultimately 
came out of the same general medium as Mark ; but 
that consideration does not much diminish the weight 
of its testimony. If I met two people a hundred 
yards apart both coming from St. Paul's Cathedral, 
and if they both assured me that they had just been 
listening to a sermon of Dr. Inge's, I should not 
credit them the less because they had been together 
in church. 

That both these documents — I mean Mark and the 
non-Marcan — were in circulation at a fairly early 
date is certain on many grounds. So great a scholar 
as Wellhausen, a scholar untrammelled by ties of 
orthodoxy, shows in his commentary that Mark, as 
it lies before us, must have been redacted before the 

H 



98 



THE AEGUMBNT FEOM SILENCE 



The first 

and third 

Gospels 

constitute 

two more 

such 

documents 



Luke's 
prologue 
argues an 
indefinite 
number 
more of 
such 
documents 



fall of Jerusalem in a.d. 70 ; so vague are its forecasts 
of disasters that were to befall the holy city. In 
Luke, on the other hand, these forecasts are accom- 
modated to the facts, as we should expect to be the 
case in an author who wrote after the blow had 
fallen. 

And another consideration arises here. Matthew 
and Luke wrote quite independently of one another — 
for they practically never join hands across Mark — 
and yet they both assume in their compilations that 
these two basal documents, Mark and the non- 
Marcan, are genuine narratives of real events. They 
allow themselves, indeed, according to the literary 
fashion of the age, to re-arrange, modify, and omit 
episodes in them ; but their manner of handling and 
combining the two documents is in general inexplic- 
able on the hypothesis that they considered them to 
be mere romances. They are too plainly in earnest, 
too eager to find in them material for the life of a 
master whom they revered. Luke in particular 
prefixes a personal letter to one Theophilus, explain- 
ing the purpose of his compilation. In it we find not 
a word about the transcribing of Osiris dramas. On 
the contrary, it will set in order for Theophilus a 
story in which he had already been instructed. It 
is clear that Theophilus had already been made 
acquainted with " the facts about Jesus," perhaps 
insufficiently, perhaps along lines which Luke depre- 
cated. However this be, Luke desires to improve 
upon the information which Theophilus had so far 
acquired about Jesus. It is clear that written and 
unwritten traditions of Jesus were already dissemi- 
nated among believers. The prologue is inexplicable 
otherwise, and it implies a whole series of witnesses 



THE AEGUMBNT FEOM SILENCE ' 99 

to the historicity of Jesus prior to Luke himself, of 
whom, as I have said, we still have Mark and can 
reconstruct Q. Both Matthew (whoever he was) and 
Luke, then, are convinced of the historicity of Jesus, 
and regarded Mark and Q as historical sources. They 
exploit them, and they also try to fill up lacunas left 
in these basal documents, and in particular to supply 
their readers with some account of his birth and 
upbringing. Both supplements, of course, are largely 
fictitious, that of Matthew in particular ; but they 
both testify to a fixed consciousness and belief among 
early Christians that the Messiah was a real historical 
person. Such an interest in the birth and up-bring- 
ing of Jesus as Matthew and Luke reveal could never 
have been felt by sectaries who were well aware that 
he was not a real person, but a solar myth and first 
cousin of Osiris. Had he been known, even by a few 
believers and no more, to have been not a man but 
a composite myth, people would not have craved for 
details, even miraculous, about his birth and parentage 
and upbringing. Was it necessary to concoct human 
pedigrees for a solar myth, and to pretend that Jacob 
begat Joseph, and Joseph begat Jesus? The very 
idea is absurd. They wanted such details, and got 
them, just as did the worshippers of Plato, Alexander, 
Augustus, Apollonius, and other famous men. In 
connection with Osiris and Dionysus such details 
were never asked for and never supplied. 

In the covering letter which forms a sort of exordium ipplica- 
to his Gospel the following are the words in which Luke's 
Luke assures us that others before himself had exordium 
planned histories of the life of Jesus : — 

Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to draw 
up a narrative concerning those matters which have 



100 THE AEGUMENT PEOM SILENCE 

been fully established (or fulfilled) among us, even as 
they delivered them unto us which from the beginning 
were eye-witnesses and ministers of the word, it seemed 
good to me also, having traced out the course of all 
things accurately from the first, to write them unto thee 
in order, most excellent Theophilus; that thou mightest 
know the certainty concerning the things wherein thou 
wast instructed. 

This is not the tone of a man who trades in sun- 
myths. The passage has a thoroughly bona fide ring, 
and declares (1) that Theophilus had already been 
instructed in the Gospel narrative, but not so 
accurately as the writer could wish ; (2) that several 
accounts of Jesus's life and teaching were in circula- 
tion ; (3) that these accounts were based on the 
traditions of those who had seen Jesus and assisted in 
the diffusion of his Messianic and other teachings. 

The passage cannot be later than a.d. 100, and is 

probably as early as a.d. 80 ; many scholars put it 

earlier. In any case, it reveals a consciousness, 

stretching far back among believers, that Jesus had 

really lived and died. Moreover, it is from the pen 

of one who either had himself visited, with Paul, 

James the brother (or, according to the orthodox, the 

half-brother) of Jesus at Jerusalem (Acts xxi, 17), or 

— if not that — anyhow had in his possession and 

made copious use of a travel document written by the 

companion of Paul. 

abi'^^u^sed^a ^ study of Luke also suggests that he had a third 

document narrative document of his own. Thus, without going 

d"nt^oT outside the Synoptic Gospels, we have two, if not 

Mark and three, wholly independent accounts of the doings and 

^ sayings of Jesus, and an inferential certainty that 

they were not the only ones which then existed. In 

the earliest Christian writers, moreover, citations 



documents 



THE ARGUMENT FEOM SILENCE '101 

occur that cannot well be referred to the canonical 
Gospels, but which may very well have been taken 
from the other narratives which Luke assures us 
were in the possession of the earliest Church. These 
narratives, like all other wholly or partly independent 
documents, must have differed widely from one 
another in detail ; for their authors probably handled 
the tradition as freely as Matthew and Luke handle Messiamc 

TV*- 1 1 • • • • and apo- 

Mark. But the inspiring motive of them all was the caiyptio 

belief that a human Messiah had founded, or rather character 

' . of these 

begun, the community of believers in Palestine, early 

That any of them were contemporary is improbable, 

for the simple reason that the eyes of believers were 

turned, not backward on the life of the herald, but 

forward to the Kingdom of God or kingdom of heaven 

on earth which he heralded. They all felt themselves 

to be living in the last days, and that the Kingdom 

was to surprise many of them during their lifetime. 

Nor among the earliest believers was this expectation 

confined to Jews alone ; it extended equally to 

Gentile converts. Thus Paul, in his epistles to the 

Corinthians, labours to answer the pathetic query his 

converts had addressed to him — namely, why the 

kingdom to come so long delayed ; why many of 

them had fallen sick and some had died, while yet it 

tarried. Men and women who breathed such an 

atmosphere of tense expectation, as a passage like this 

and as the Gospel parables reveal, could not be 

solicitous for annals of the past. Still less is the 

attitude revealed that of people nurtured on ritual 

dramas of an annually slain and annually resuscitated 

god ; for in that case they only needed to wait for the 

manifestation they yearned for, until the following 

spring, when the god would rise afresh to secure 



102 THE AEGUMENT FEOM SILENCE 

salvation for his votaries. The tone of this passage 
of Paul, as of all the earliest Christian documents, 
shows that the mind's eye of the common believer, as 
had been the founder's, was dazzled with the apoca- 
lyptic splendours soon to be revealed, with the 
beatitudes shortly to be fulfilled in the faithful. 
They were as wayfarers walking in a dark night 
towards a light which is far off, yet, because of its 
brightness and of the lack of an interposed landscape 
to fix the perspective, seems close at hand. Many a 
Socialist ' workman, especially on the continent, 
cherishes a similar dream of a good time coming ere 
long for himself and his fellows. He has no sense of 
the difficulties which for many a weary year — perhaps 
for ever — will hinder the realization of his passion- 
ately desired ideal. It is better so, for we live by our 
enthusiasms, and are the better for having indulged 
in them ; if the labourer had none, he would be a 
chilly, useless being. Happily the Socialist seldom 
reflects how commonplace he would probably find his 
ideal if it were suddenly realized around him. Such 
were the eschatological hopes and dreams rife in the 
circles among which the Synoptic Gospels and their 
constituent documents first saw the light ; they are 
revealed on their every page, and, needless to say, are 
inexplicable on Mr. Robertson's hypothesis. Devoid 
of sympathy with his subject, incapable of seeing it 
against its true background, without tact or perspec- 
tive, he has never felt or understood the difficulties 
which beset his central hypothesis. He therefore 
attempts no explanation of them. 
Character Of the Fourth Gospel I have already said whatever 
p *^th ^^ strictly necessary in this connection. It hangs 
Gospel together with the Johannine epistles ; and its writer 



THE AEGUMENT EEOM SILENCE 403 

certainly had the Gospel of Mark before him, for he 
derives many incidents from it, and often covertly 
controverts it. It seems to belong to the end of the 
first century, and was in the hands of Gnostic sects 
fairly early in the second — say about 128. When it 
■was written, the Gnosis of the Hellenized Jews, and 
in especial of Philo, was invading the primitive 
community. The Messianic and human traits of 
Jesus, still so salient in Mark and Matthew, though 
less so in Luke, are receding into the background 
before the opinion that he had been the representa- 
tion in flesh of the eternal Logos. All his conversa- 
tions are re-written to suit the newer standpoint ; the 
homely scenes and surroundings of Galilee are for- 
gotten as much as can be, and Samaria and Jerusalem 
— a more resounding theatre — are substituted. The 
teaching in parables is dropped, and we hear no more 
of the exorcisms of devils. Such things were unedi- 
fying, and unworthy of so sublime a figure, as much 
in the mind of this evangelist as of the fastidious 
Professor W. B. Smith. Hence it may be said that 
the Fourth Gospel has made the fortune of the 
Catholic Church ; without it Athanasius could never 
have triumphed, nor the Nicene Creed have been 
penned, nor Professor Smith's diatribes have attracted 
readers. For in it Jesus is becoming unreal, a divine It is half- 
pedant masquerading in a vesture of flesh. When it °°^ ^° 
was written, the Docetes, as they were called, were 
already beginning to dot the "i's" and cross the 
"t's" of the teachers who sublimated Jesus into the 
Philonian Logos ; and, as I said above, it is against 
them, no doubt, that the caveat — so necessary in the 
context — is entered that in Jesus the Word was made 
flesh. Similarly, in the Johannine epistles certain 



104 THE AEGUMBNT FEOM SILENCE 



Ignatiua's 
account of 
Dooetism 



Drews 
misunder- 
stands 
Gnosti- 
cism 



teachers are denounced who declared that Jesus 
Christ had not come in the flesh, and taught that 
his flesh was only a blind. We have a fairly full 
account of these docetic teachers in the Epistles 
of Ignatius, which cannot be much later than a.d. 120. 
From these we gather that they adopted the ordinary 
tradition about Jesus, and believed that he had been 
born, and eaten and drunk, had walked about with his 
disciples, had delivered his teaching by word of mouth, 
had been crucified by Pontius Pilate, had died, and 
been buried. But all these operations had been 
unreal and subjective in the minds of those who 
were present at them, as are things we see in a 
dream. They had taken place to the eye and ear 
of bystanders, but not in reality. The partizans, 
therefore, of the view that Jesus never lived deceive 
themselves when they appeal to the Docetes as wit- 
nesses on their side. The Docetes lend no colour to 
their thesis of the non-historicity of Jesus, but just 
the opposite. Drews writes (p. 57) that 

the Gnostics of the second century really questioned 
the historical existence of Jesus by their docetic 
conception ; in other words, they believed only in 
a metaphysical and ideal, not an historical and real, 
Christ. The whole polemic of the Christians against 
the Gnostics was based essentially on the fact that the 
Gnostics denied the historicity of Jesus, or at least put 
it in a subordinate position. 

This is nonsense. The Docetes admitted to the full 
that the Messiah had appeared on earth ; but, partly 
to meet the Jewish objections to a crucified Messiah, 
and partly inspired by that contempt for matter which 
was and is common in the East, and has been the 
inspiring motive of much vain asceticism, they shrank 
from believing that he shared with ordinary men 



THE AEGUMENT FEOM SILENCE 105 

their flesh and blood, their secretions and evacua- 
tions. Matter was too evil for a Messiah, much more 
for the heavenly Logos, to have been encased in it, and 
so subjected to its dominion ; to ascribe real flesh to 
him was to humble him before the evil Demiurge, who 
created matter. The Docetes accordingly took refuge Docetes 
in the idea that his body was a phantom, and that in current 
phantom form he had undergone all that was related Christian 
of him in Christian tradition ; to which their views 
bear testimony, instead of contradicting it, as 
Dr. Drews and his friends pretend. " If these 
things," writes Ignatius, " were done by our Lord 
in Semblance, then am I also a prisoner in sem- 
blance." This means that — mutatis mutandis — the 
arguments of the Docetes would turn Ignatius too, 
chains and all, into a phantom. Again and again 
this writer affirms that the Docetes believed quite 
correctly that Jesus was born of a virgin and 
baptized by John, was nailed up for our sakes 
under Pontius Pilate and Herod the Tetrarch, that 
he suffered, died, and raised himself up out of the 
grave. They only would not believe that he under- 
went and performed all this truly — that is, objectively. 
They insisted that the Saviour had only been among 
men as a phantom, in the same manner as Helen had 
gone through the siege of Troy as a mere phantom. 
She was not really there, though Greeks and Trojans 
saw and met her daily. She was all the time enjoying 
herself amid the asphodel meadows of the Nile. Even 
so the disciples, according to the Docetes, had heard 
and seen Jesus all through his ministry ; yet the body 
they saw was phantasmal only. The Docetes also 
argued — so we can infer from Ignatius's Epistle to 
the Church of Smyrna — that, as Jesus ate and drank 



106 THE AEGUMBNT FEOM SILENCE 

after the resurrection in phantom guise, so he had 
eaten and drunk before his death in no other than 
phantom guise. The answer of Ignatius to this is : 
" I know and believe that he was in the flesh even 
after the resurrection "; and he forthwith relates how 
the risen Jesus approached Peter and his company, 
who thought they were in the presence of a phantom 
or ghost, and said to them : "Lay hold and handle me, 
and see that I am not a demon ivithout a body." Every- 
thing, then, that we read about the Docetes shows that 
on all points, in respect of the miraculous incidents of 
Jesus's life no less than of the natural, they blindly 
accepted the record of evangelical tradition. Their 
heresy was not to deny what the tradition related, but 
to interpret it wrongly. Philo had long before set the 
?°pvi™ example of such an interpretation, when in his com- 
mentaries, which were widely read by Christians in 
the second century, he asserted that the angels who 
appeared to Abraham at the oak of Mambre, and ate 
and drank with him, only ate and drank in semblance, 
and not in reality. They laid a spell on the eyes of 
Abraham, and of the other guests at the banquet. So 
and in in the Book of Tobit xii, 20, 21, the angel says : "All 
these days did I appear unto you ; and I did neither 
eat nor drink, but it was a vision ye yourselves 
saw." 

In the same way, Jesus laid a spell on the eyes of 

his followers, in the belief of this very early sect of 

Christian believers. Professor W. B. Smith, like his 

two companions, writes as if Docetism were an asset 

Professor in favour of his thesis that Christianity began as the 

Hippo- f'lilt 0^ ^ slain God, and that " the humanization of this 

lytus divinity proceeds apace as we descend the stream of 

tradition." Yet the Docetic doctrine, as given in the 



THE AEGUMENT lEOM SILENCE 107 

report of Hippolytus, and adduced by Mr. Smith him- 
self (p. 88), exactly bears out the estimate of its import 
with which one rises from a study of the Ignatian 
Epistles. It is from Hippolytus's Refutation of 
Heresies, viii, 10, and runs thus : — 

Having come from above, he (Jesus) put on the 
begotten (body), and did all things just as has been 
written in the Gospels ; he washed himself in Jordan, 
etc. 

Hippolytus was in contact with Docetes, and familiar 
with their writings and arguments. What better 
proof could we have than this citation of the fact 
that they servilely adopted the traditions of Jesus 
recorded in the Gospels ? They were not supplying 
an answer to imaginary Jews who had objected to 
Christianity on the score that Jesus had never lived. 
Their speciality was to interpret the Gospel record, 
which they did not dream of disputing, along phantas- 
magoric lines. There was still left in the Church 
enough common sense and historic insight to brush 
their interpretation on one side as nonsensical. 

Drews once more has conjured up out of Justin Drews 
Martyr a Jew of the second century who denied the ™and° ^^' 
human existence of Jesus. The relevant passage is Justin 
at p. 16 of his Witnesses to the Historicity of Jesus, ' '^' ^"^ 
and runs as follows : — 

It is not true, however, as has recently been stated, 
that no Jew ever questioned the historical reality of 
Jesus, so that we may see in this some evidence for 
his existence. The Jew Trypho, whom Justin intro- 
duces in his Dialogue with Trypho, expresses himself 
very sceptically about it. " Ye follow an empty 
rumour," he says, " and make a Christ for your- 
selves." " If he was born and lived somewhere, he 
is entirely unknown " (viii, 3). This work appeared 
in the second half of the second century ; it is there- 



108 THE AEGUMENT FEOM SILENCE 

fore the first indication of a denial of the human 
existence of Jesus, and shows that such opinions were 
current at the time. 

Professor Drews has, I regret to say, failed to 
read his text intelligently. So I will transcribe 
the passage of Justin in full, premising that it was 
more probably written in the first than in the second 
half of the second century. The dialogue is between 
a Jew and an ex-Platonist who has turned Christian, 
and the Jew says with an ironical smile to the 
Christian : — 

The rest of your arguments I admit, and I admire 
your religious enthusiasm. Nevertheless, you would 
have done better to stick to Plato's or any other sage's 
philosophy, practising the virtues of endurance and 
continence and temperance, rather than let yourself 
be ensnared by false arguments and follow utterly 
worthless men. For if you had remained loyal to 
that form of philosophy and lived a blameless life, 
there was left a hope of your rising to something 
better. But as it is you have abandoned God and 
put your trust in man, so what further hope is left 
to you of salvation? If, then, you are willing to 
take advice from myself — for I already have come to 
regard you as a friend — begin first by circumcising 
yourself, and next keep in the legal fashion the 
sabbath and the festivals and the new moons of God, 
and in a word fulfil all the commandments written in 
the Law, and then perhaps you will attain unto God's 
mercy. But Messiah (or Christ), even supposing he 
has come into being and exists somewhere or other, 
is imrecognized, and can neither knoiv himself as such 
nor possess any niiyht, until Elias having come shall 
anoint him and make him manifest unto all. But 
you (Christians), having lent ear to a vain report, 
feign a sort of Messiah unto yourselves, and for his 
sake are now rashly going to perdition. 

There is a parallel passage in the Dialogue, c. ex. 



THE AEGUMENT FEOM SILENCE 109 

where the Christian interlocutor, after reciting the 
prophecy of Mieah, iv, 1-7, adds these words : — 

I am quite aware, gentlemen, that your rabbis 
admit all the words of the above passage to have 
been uttered about, and to refer to the Messiah ; and 
I also know that they deny him so far to have come, 
or, if they say he has come, then that it is not yet 
known who he is. However, when he is manifested 
and in glory, then, they say, it will be known who he 
is. And then, so they say, the things foreshadowed 
in the above passage will come to pass. 

The sense, then, of the passage adduced by Drews J^^ Jeys 
is perfectly clear, and exactly the opposite of that testify to 
which he puts upon it. The Christ or Messiah ^?^"='?. 
referred to by the Jew is not that man of Nazareth 
in whom the Christians had falsely recognized the 
signs of Messiahship. No, he is, on the contrary, 
the Messiah expected by the Jews ; but the latter 
has not so far come ; or, if he has come, still lurks 
in some corner unrecognized until such time as Elias, 
to whom the role appertains, shall appear again and 
proclaim him. There is not a word of Jesus of 
Nazareth not having come, or of his being still 
unrecognized. The gravamen of the Jew is that the 
ex-Platonist had been chicaned by Christians into 
believing that the Messiah had already come in the 
person of Jesus, and had been recognized in him. 
The passage, therefore, has exactly the opposite 
bearing to what Drews imagines. 

There is, too, another very significant point to be Second 
made in this connection. It is this, that the Jews of je^^g^af^ 
that age would not have borne the bitter grudge they not detest 
did against the Christians if the latter had merely ^a^lo^g 
devoted themselves to the cult of a mythical personage, 
a Sun-God- Saviour, who never existed at all. They 



110 THE ARGUMENT PEOM SILENCE 

were quite well capable of ridiculing myths of such 
a kind, as the story of Bel and the Dragon shows. 
Jesus, however, was a real memory to them, and one 
which they detested. Their hatred for him was that 
which you bear for a man who has upset your 
religion and trampled on your prejudices — the sort 
of hatred that Catholics have for the memory of 
Luther and Calvin ; it was not in any way akin to 
their mockery of idols, their disgust for the demons 
that inhabited them, their abhorrence of their votaries. 
It was hatred of a religious antagonist, odium theolo- 
gicum of the purest kind, and hatred like that with 
which the Ebionites for generations hated the memory 
of Paul. Jesus had violated and set at naught the 
law of Moses. A solar myth could not do that. 

To this hatred of the Jews for the memory of Jesus, 
and to the early date at which it showed itself. Dr. 
Drews himself bears witness when, on p. 12 of the 
work cited, he writes as follows : — 

There is no room for doubt that after the destruc- 
tion of Jerusalem, and especially during the first 
quarter of the second century, the hostility of the Jews 
and Christians increased; indeed, by the year 130 the 
hatred of the Jews for the Christians became so fierce 
that a rabbi whose niece had been bitten by a serpent 
preferred to let her die rather than see her healed " in 
, the name of Jesus." . 

chwolson Chwolson argues from this and similar passages 
Eabto^ that the Eabbis of the second half of the first century, 
or the beginning of the second, were well acquainted 
with the person of Christ. " Here," says Drews, " he 
clearly deceives himself and his readers if the impres- 
sion is given that they had any personal knowledge 
of him." The self-deception is surely on the part of 
Dr. Drews. Chwolson does not imply that any 



THE AEGUMENT EROM SILENCE 111 

Eabbis of the years 50-100 had a personal know- 
ledge of Jesus, in the sense of having seen him or 
conversed with him ; for he is not given to writing 
nonsense. He does, however, imply that they knew 
of him as a real man who had lived and done them 
a power of evil. If they had only known him as a 
solar myth, their hostility to his followers, admitted 
by Drews, would be inexplicable ; equally inexplicable 
if, as Dr. W. B. Smith contends, he had been a 
merely heavenly power, a divine Logos or God, 
incidentally the object of a monotheist cult. In that 
case the Jews would rather have been inclined to 
fall on the neck of the Christians and welcome them ; 
and their cult would have been no more offensive to 
them than the theosophy of Philo the Jew, from 
which it would have been hardly distinguishable. l° 'he 
Justin Martyr furthermore makes statements on this gyna. 
point which perfectly agree with the story of the gog^es 
hostile Eabbi adduced by Drews. Not in one, but in regularly 
half-a-dozen, passages he testifies that in his day the e=^ecrated 
Jews in all their synagogues, at the conclusion of 
their prayers, cursed the memory of Jesus, execrated 
his name and personality (for name meaned personality 
in that age), and poured ridicule on the soi-disant 
Messiah that had been crucified by the Romans. 
"Even to this day," Justin exclaims (ch. xciii), " you 
persevere in your wickedness, imprecating curses on 
us because we can prove that he whom you crucified 
is Messiah." He records (ch. cviii) " that the Jews 
chose and appointed emissaries whom they sent forth 
all over the world to proclaim that a godless heresy 
and unlawful had been vamped up by a certain 
Jesus, a charlatan of Galilee. They were to warn 
their compatriots that the disciples had stolen him 



112 THE AEGUMENT FEOM SILENCE 

out of the tomb in which, after being unnailed from 
the cross, he had been laid, and then pretended that 
he had been raised from the dead and ascended into 
heaven." 
Eusebius's At first sight the above is a mere rechauffe of 
ontlds* Matt, xxviii, 13 ; but Busebius, who had in his hands 
point much first- and second-century literature of the Chris- 

tians and Hellenized Jews that we have not, attests 
a similar tradition, and declares that he found it in 
the publications of the ancients.^ 

The priests and elders of the Jewish race who lived 
in Jerusalem wrote epistles and sent them broadcast 
to the Jews everywhere among the Gentiles, calum- 
niating the teaching of Christ as a brand-new heresy 
and alien to God ; and they warned them by letters 
not to receive it. And their apostles took their 

epistles, written on papyrus and ran up and 

down the earth, maligning our account of the Saviour. 

It is still the custom of the Jews to give the 

name of Apostles to those who carry encyclical letters 
from their rulers. 

Note that Eusebius does not weave in the story of 
the disciples stealing their Master's body from out of 
the tomb. From his omission of it, and from the 
dissimilarity of his language, we can infer that the 
" publications of the ancients " from which he derived 
his information were not the works of Justin, but an 
independent source, which may also have been in 
Justin's hands. In any case, the Jews were not given 
to tilting at windmills ; their secular and bitter hatred 
of the very name of Jesus, the relentless war waged 
with pen and sword from the first between the Chris- 

1 Euseb., in Esai, xviii, 1 foil., p. 424, foil. The words might 
mean Justin ; but when he quotes Justin he always gives his name. 
The Gospels cannot be intended. 



THE AEGUMENT PEOM SILENCE 113 

tians and themselves — all this is attested hy the 
earliest writings of the Church. It already colours 
Luke's Gospel, and is a leading inspiration of the 
Johannine. It alone is all-sufficient to dissipate the 
hypotheses of these twentieth-century fabulists. 

Let us turn to the Acts of the Apostles, the only ^p^^^'^^ 
book of the New Testament which contains a history 
of the Apostolic age. In the last half of this book is 
embedded, as even Van Manen admitted, a travel 
document or narrative of voyage undertaken by its 
author in common with Paul. Whether or no the 
fellow-traveller was the compiler of the Third Gospel 
and of Acts is not certain ; but he was assuredly 
a man named Luke. It does not matter. " It is 
not," writes Dr. Drews (Christ Myth, p. 19), 

the imagined historical Jesus, but, if anyone, Paul, 
who is that " great personality " that called Chris- 
tianity into life as a new religion ; and the depth of 
his moral experience gave it the strength for its 
journey, the strength which bestowed upon it victory 
over the other competing religions. Without Jesus 
the rise of Christianity can be quite well understood ; 
without Paul, not so. 

We infer from the above that, on the whole, Drews 
accepts the narrative of Paul's sayings and doings as 
given in Acts, and does not consider it a mere record 
of the feats a solar hero performed, not on earth, but 
in heaven. We gather also that Mr. Robertson takes 
the same indulgent view of Acts, for he frequently 
impugns the age of the Pauline epistles and the 
evidence they contain on the strength of " Van Van 
Manen's thesis of the non-genuineness " of them, '^^"^f 

o on Acts 

" In point of fact," he writes (p. 453), " Van Manen's and Paul 
whole case is an argument ; Dr. Carpenter's is a 
simple declaration." 



114 THE AEGUMBNT EEOM SILENCE 

But Van Manen never for a moment questioned the 
historical reality of Jesus. What he insisted upon is^ 
that 

there is no word, nor any trace, of any essential 
difference as regards faith and life between Paul 

and other disciples He is a "disciple" among the 

"disciples." What he preaches is substantially 
nothing else than what their mind and heart are 
full of— the things concerning Jesus. 

Van Manen, however, allows 

that Paul's journeyings, his protracted sojourn outside 
of Palestine, his intercourse in foreign parts with 
converted Jews and former heathen, may have eman- 
cipated him (as it did so many other Jews of the 
Dispersion) without his knowing it, more or less — 
perhaps in essence completely — from circumcision 
and other Jewish religious duties, customs, and rites. 

Concerning Paul the same writer says (op. cit., art, 
" Paul ") that Acts gives us 

a variety of narratives concerning him, differing in 
their dates, and also in respect of the influences under 

which they were written With regard to Paul's 

journeys, we can in strictness speak with reasonable 
certainty and with some detail only of one great 
journey, which he undertook towards the end of his 
life. (Acts xvi, 10-17; xx, 5-15; xxi, 1-18; xxvii, 1- 
xxviii, 16.) 

Evidence It is upon Acts, then, that Van Manen bases his 
sectionTof estimate, which we just now cited, of Paul's relations 
Acts with the other disciples. He refuses, and rightly, 

" to assume that Acts must take a subordinate place 
in comparison with the principal epistles of Paul." 
In effect, his assault on the Pauline Epistles rests on 
the assumption that the record of Paul's activity 
presented in Acts is the more trustworthy wherever 

1 Encycl. Bibl., art, "Paul." 



THE ARGUMENT FROM SILENCE 115 

it appears to conflict with the Pauline Epistles, and 
in particular with Galatians. In accepting Van 
Manen's conclusion, Mr. Robertson implicitly accepts 
his premises, one of which is the superior reliability 
of Acts in general, and in particular of the four 
sections enumerated above, and characterized by the 
use of the word "we." For the moment, therefore, 
let us confine ourselves to the ninety-seven verses of 
these " we " sections, which are obviously from the 
pen of a fellow-traveller of Paul. We find it recorded 
in them that Paul was moved by a vision to go and 
preach the Gospel^ in Macedonia ; that at Philippi 
a certain woman named Lydia, who already wor- 
shipped God — i.e., was a heathen converted to Jewish 
monotheism — had opened her heart in consequence to 
give heed to the things spoken by Paul. We infer 
that Paul's Gospel supplemented in some way her 
monotheism. She and her household became some- 
thing more than mere worshippers of God, and were 
baptized. We learn that Paul and his companion 
reckoned time by the Jewish feasts and fasts — e.g., 
by the days of unleavened bread — but at the same 
time were in the habit of meeting together with the 
rest of the faithful on the first day of the week, in 
order to break bread and discourse about the faith. 
At Tyre, as at Troas, they found " disciples " who, 
like Paul, arranged future events, or were warned of 
them through the Spirit. At Csesarea, of Palestine, 
they stayed with Philip the evangelist, who was one 
of the seven, and had four daughters — virgins who did 
prophesy. They also met there a certain prophet 
Agabus, who was a mouthpiece of the Holy Ghost, 

' Words italicized in the sequel are citations of the text of Acts, 



116 THE AEGUMENT FEOM SILENCE 

and as such foretold that the Jews at Jerusalem, of 
whose plots against Paul we elsewhere hear in these 
sections, would deliver hivi into the hands of the 
Gentiles. Paul, in his turn, declares his readiness 
to be bound and die at Jerusalem for the name of 
the Lord Jesus. At Cyprus they stay with an early 
disciple, Mnason, and, on reaching Jerusalem, the 
brethren received them gladly. And the day following 
Paul went in tvith us unto James ; and all the elders 
(of the Church) were present. Paul relates to them 
the facts of his ministry among the Gentiles. In the 
course of the final voyage to Rome, when all the crew 
have despaired of their lives, because of the violence 
of the storm and of the ship leaking, Paul comes to 
the rescue, and informs them that the angel of the 
God whom he served, and whose he was, had stood by 
him in the night, saying : " Fear not, Paul ; thou must 
stand before Caesar." He therefore could not perish by 
shipwreck, nor they either. In Melita the trivial cir- 
cumstance that the bite of a viper, promptly shaken 
off by him into the fire, did not cause Paul to swell up 
{i.e., his hand to be inflamed), or die, caused the bar- 
barians to acclaim him as a god ; and in the sequel 
the sick in the island flock to him, and are healed. 
At Puteoli Paul and his companion find brethren, as 
they had found them at Jerusalem and elsewhere ; 
and presently they enter Rome. 

In these sections, then, we have glimpses of a 
brotherhood disseminated all about the Mediterranean 
whose members were Monotheists of the Jewish type, 
but something besides, in so far as they accepted a 
gospel which Paul also preached, about a Lord Jesus 
Christ ; these brethren solemnly broke bread on the 
first day of the week. In these sections we breathe 



THE AEGUMENT PEOM SILENCE 117 

the same atmosphere of personal visions, of angels, 
of prophecy, of direct inspiration of individuals by 
the Holy Ghost, of the cult of virginity, which we 
breathe in the rest of Acts and throughout the 
Pauline Epistles. We meet also with a Philip, an ^^'^^^ °"<= 
evangelist, and one of the seven. Who were the seven? seven 
We turn to an earlier chapter of Acts,^ and read that 
in the earliest days of the religion at Jerusalem, in 
order to satisfy the claims of the widows of Greek 
Jews who were neglected in the daily ministration, 
the twelve apostles had called together the multitude 
of the faithful, and chosen seven me7i of good report, 
full of the Spirit and of wisdom to serve the tables, 
because they, the Twelve, were too busy preaching 
the word to attend to the catering of the new 
Messianic society. The first on the list of these 
seven deacons was Stephen, the second Philip. When, 
therefore, in the later passage the fellow-traveller of 
Paul refers to Philip as one of the seven, he assumes 
that we know who the seven were ; and he can only 
expect us to know it because we have read the earlier 
chapter which narrates their appointment. The 
fellow-traveller of Paul, therefore, was aware of the 
appointment of the seven deacons, and testifies 
thereto. Here we have irrefragable evidence of the 
historicity of verses 1-6 of chapter vi of Acts, and at 
the same time a strong presumption that the fellow- 
traveller of Paul was himself the redactor, if not the 
author, of the earlier chapters (i-xv) of Acts, as he 
is obviously of the last half (ch. xvi to end) ; for that 

1 I expect Dr. Drews and Mr. Robertson, in their next editions, to 
broacti the view that the earlier chapter was forged to explain the 
later one, and that in the later one " The Seven " are a cryptic 
reference to the Pleiades. 



118 THE ARGUMENT FROM SILENCE 

last half coheres inseparably with the contiguous ive 
sections, 
unif *oT Have we, then, any way of testing this presump- 

Acts tion that the fellow-traveller who penned these we 

sections also penned the rest of Acts ? We have, 
though it is one which can only appeal to trained 
philologists, and I doubt if Messrs. Drews and Robert- 
son are likely to give to such an argument its due 
weight. The linguistic evidence of the we sections 
has been sifted and tested by Sir John Hawkins in 
his Horce Synopticce. The statistic of words and 
phrases cannot lie. It proves that the writer of Acts, 
and consequently of the Third Gospel, " was from time 
to time a companion of Paul in his travels, and that 
he simply and naturally wrote in the first person 
when narrating events at which he had been present." 
This is the best hypothesis which a study of the 
language of Acts and of the Third Gospel permits us 
to accept. I do not say it is the only possible one, 
and I expect Mr. Robertson and his pupil. Dr. Drews, 
to reject it with scorn, for their philology is of the 
sort which recognizes in Maria the same name as 
Moira and Myrrha. The only other explanations of 
the presence of we in these sections are, either that 
a compiler who used the diary of the fellow-traveller 
left it standing in the document when he embodied it 
in his narrative, through carelessness and by accident, 
or else that he left it of set design, and because 
he wished his readers to identify him with the older 
reporter, and so to pass for a companion of Paul. 
The first of these explanations is very improbable ; 
the second not only much too subtle, but out of 
keeping with the babbling, but credulous, honesty 
which everywhere shows itself in Acts. 



THE AEGUMENT EEOM SILENCE 119 

It is true that Van Manen assumes a priori, and Van 
without a shadow of proof, that Luke and Acts were g^g^g^^'^f 
written as late as the period 125-150. His only dating 
argument is that Marcion already had the former in Act^^wOTM 
his hands as early as 140 ; and he is prone to make postpone 
the childish assumption that the date of composition ^'teraturr' 
of any book in the New Testament is exactly that of to the 
its earliest ascertainable use by a later author. Such ^^ ' ^ ® 
a mode of reasoning is utterly false and uncritical, 
and would, if applied in other fields, prove that the 
great mass of ancient literature was not ancient at 
all, but composed in the tenth or later centuries to 
which our earliest MSS. belong ; for we have no cita- 
tions either in contemporary or in nearly contemporary 
writers of nine-tenths of the whole volume of the 
old Greek and Latin literatures. Most of it, if we 
applied Van Manen's canons of evidence (which, of 
course, are accepted and improved upon by the three 
writers I am criticizing), would turn out to have been 
written as late as the renaissance of European learn- 
ing. It is a fallacious test, and Van Manen would 
have shrunk from the paradox of enforcing it in 
regard to any other literature than the New Testa- 
ment. It would appear as if the orthodox tradition- 
alists, by insisting that the Bible must not be judged 
and criticized like other books, have prejudiced not 
merely their own cause — that would not matter — but 
the cause of sober history. They have invested it 
with such an atmosphere of mystery and falsetto, with 
what I may call a Sunday-school atmosphere, that a 
certain class of inquirers rush to an opposite extreme, 
and insist on canons of evidence and authenticity which 
would, if consistently used, eliminate all ancient litera- 
ture and history. One form of error provokes the other. 



120 THE AEGUMENT PEOM SILENCE 



Ephrem'a 
commen- 
tary on 
Acts 



Evidence 
of those 
parts of 
Acts which 
cohere 
with the 
we sections 



We have examined for their evidence as regards 
the Early Church those sections which directly 
evidence the hand of a companion of Paul, who was 
probably Luke the physician, seeing that tradition 
was unanimous in ascribing the Third Gospel and 
Acts to him. Some scholars have observed that the 
old Syriac version cited by Ephrem the Syrian in his 
commentary^ on Acts read in Acts xs, 13, as follows : 
" But I, Lucas, and those with me, going before to the 
ship, set sail for Assos," where the conventional text 
reads : " But we, going before." The pronoun we in 
this passage cannot include, as it usually does, Paul, 
who had taken another route and had left directions 
that they should call for him ; this may have led 
Ephrem to substitute the paraphrase I, Lucas, and 
those with me. Anyhow, without further evidence, we 
can hardly use Ephrem's citation as a proof of the 
Lucan authorship of Acts. But we must anyhow 
consider the evidence as to Paul's beliefs which is to 
be gathered from the sections of Acts which imme- 
diately cohere with the travel document, and which 
clearly depended for their information on a source 
closely allied to them and of the same age and 
provenance. Firstly, then, it is noticeable that all 
this last part of Acts is relatively free from the 
fabulous details which mar the earlier part descriptive 
of the exploits of Peter. Next we note that Paul, on 
entering a city, goes straight to the Jewish Synagogue, 
and that the gospel with which he undertakes to 
supplement their monotheism consisted not of tidings 
about an ancient Palestinian Sun-god named Joshua, 
or Dionysus or Krishna, or Osiris, or ^Esculapius, or 

1 The relevant part of this commentary is preserved in an old 
Armenian version of which we have ancient MSS. 



THE ARGUMENT EEOM SILENCE l21 

Mithras, nor about a vegetation or harvest demon of 
any kind, nor about any of the other members of the 
Christian pandemonium invented by Mr. Robertson 
and adopted by Dr. Drews. No ; on the contrary, at 
Thessalonica Paul spent three sabbaths trying to 
convince the Jews in their synagogue that Jesus 
must have been the Jewish Messiah promised in the 
Jewish scriptures, because in accordance with prophecy 
he had suffered and risen from the dead. That he 
taught them, further, that Jesus, qua Christ or 
Messiah, was also the Jewish king whose advent they 
looked for, is obvious from the fact that he was 
accused on this occasion, as on others, of teaching, 
" contrary to the decrees of Caesar, that there was 
another king, one Jesus." At Corinth Paul found he 
was wasting time in trying to persuade the Jews that 
Jesus was the Messiah whose advent they expected ; 
and he declared to them that thenceforth he would 
devote himself to spreading his good news among the 
Gentiles. None the less he persisted, wherever he 
afterwards went, in going first to the synagogue, so 
as to give his compatriots a prior chance of accepting 
his spiritual wares, according to the principle enun- 
ciated in his epistles, that the promises were for the 
Jews first and only after them for the Gentiles. In 
Acts XXV, 19, Festus lays before King Agrippa the 
case against Paul as he had learned it from the 
Jewish priests and elders at Jerusalem. It amounted 
to this, that Paul affirmed that " one Jesus, who was 
dead, was really alive." We learn in an earlier 
passage that Paul was a Jew of Tarsus, an adherent 
of the Pharisaic sect which believed in a general 
resurrection of good Jews, that nevertheless he had 
persecuted the adherents of Jesus of Nazareth and 



122 THE AEGUMENT FEOM SILENCE 

connived at the murder of Stephen. He has some 
difficulty in convincing the Eoman governor of Judaea 
that he is not a leader of the Jewish sicarii, or sect of 
assassins, who were ever anxious to range themselves 
on the side of any Messiah ready to show fight against 
the Roman Legions. The impression made on Festus, 
the Roman Governor, by Paul's prophetic arguments 
about a Messiah who had suffered and then risen from 
the dead was (Acts xxvi, 24) that " much learning had 
made him mad." We can discern all through this 
last half of Acts that attitude of Paul to Jesus which 
confronts us in his epistles. Nothing interests him 
except his death on the cross and his resurrection. 
Of the rest of his career we learn nothing. In one 
passage, eh. xiii, 26 foil., we have a slightly more 
detailed account of the staple of Paul's teaching, as 
delivered to the Jews when he encountered them in 
their synagogues. He informed them of how " they 
that dwell in Jerusalem and their rulers " had con- 
demned Jesus ; " though they found no cause of 
death in him, yet asked they of Pilate that he should 
be slain." They afterwards "took him down from 
the tree and laid him in a tomb. But God raised 
him from the dead : and he was seen for many days 
of them that came up with him from Galilee to 
Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses unto the 
people." 

There is not much of a vegetation-god story about 
the above concise narrative, which, however, is 
strikingly independent of the Gospel legends concern- 
ing the burial and resurrection of Jesus ; for, accord- 
ing to them, it was the friends and adherents of Jesus, 
and not the rulers, who condemned him, that were 
careful to bury him ; and his post-resurrectional 



THE AEGUMENT FEOM SILENCE l23 

appearances are here confined to his Galilean 
followers, who, by virtue of their longer association 
and intimacy with him, would be more likely than 
others to see him after death in dreams and visions. 

I have now reviewed the historical books of the Six inde- 
New Testament. We have in them at least six ^^^ g°j.iy 
monuments — to wit, Mark, the non-Marcan document, documents 
the parts of the First and Third Gospels peculiar to real jesus 
their authors, the Fourth Gospel, and the history of 
Paul and his mission given in chapters xiii to xxviii 
of Acts. Perhaps I ought to add the first twelve 
chapters of Acts, of which the information, according 
to Van Manen, was derived from an early and lost 
document, the Acts of Peter. That would make 
seven monuments. Unless all philological analysis 
is false, the Third Gospel and Acts are from the pen 
of a companion of Paul, and cannot be set later than 
about 90 A.D. Mark, which he used, must be inde- 
finitely earlier, and I have pointed out that there are 
good reasons for setting its date before the year 70. 
The non-Marcan document, which critics have agreed 
to call Q (Quelle), cannot be later than Mark, and is 
probably much earlier, judging from the fact that it 
as yet reported no miracles of Jesus, nor hints of his 
death and resurrection. Now all these documents 
are independent of one another in style and contents, 
yet they all have a common interest — namely, the 
memory of a historical man Jesus ; and such data as 
they isolatedly afford about Jesus agree on the whole 
as closely as any profane documents ever agreed 
which, being written independently and from very 
different standpoints, yet refer to one and the same 
person. If we see a number of convergent rays of 
light streaming down under clouds across a widely 



124 THE AEGUMBNT FEOM SILENCE 

extended landscape, we infer a central sun behind the 
clouds by which they are all emitted. Similarly, we 
have here several traditions and documents which 
converge on a single man, and are all and severally 
meaningless, and their genesis impossible of explana- 
tion unless we assume that he lived. It is sufficiently 
incredible that one tradition should (to take the 
hypothesis of non-historicity in its most rational 
form — that, namely, of Professor W. B. Smith) 
allegorize the myth of a Saviour God as the career 
of a man, and that man a Galilean teacher, in whose 
humanity the Church believed from the first. That 
six or seven parallel traditions should all have hit on 
the same form of deception and allegory is, as I said 
before, as incredible as that several roulette tables at 
Monte Carlo should independently and at one and 
the same time throw up an identical series of numbers. 
Credat Judceus Apella. These writers who develop 
the thesis of the non-historicity of Jesus because 
miracles canie to be attributed to him — how could 
they not in that age and social medium ? — ask us to 
believe in a miracle which far outweighs any which 
any religionists ever reported of their founder ; they 
themselves have fallen into fathomless depths of 
credulity. 



Chapter IV 

THE EPISTLES OF PAUL 

Now let us turn to the Epistles of Paul, a person Mr. 

whom these writers, as we have seen above, admit to son's vital 

have lived, and to have played no small part in the ipterpola- 

establishment of Christianity. 

In using these Epistles, they all three make a 

reservation to the effect that any evidence which 

they may supply in favour of the historicity of Jesus, 

and which cannot be explained away, shall be regarded 

as an interpolation ; and as it is something that slays 

his hypothesis, Mr. Robertson has taught us to call 

such evidence " vital interpolation." It must die in 

order that his hypothesis may live. They also claim, 

ah initio, to deny Pauline authorship to any epistles 

that may turn out to be a stumbling-block in the way 

of their theories, and lean to the view of Van Manen 

and others, who held that the entire mass of the 

Pauline letters are the " work of a whole school of 

second-century theologians" — in other words, forgeries 

of the period 130-140. They would, of course, 

set them later than that, only it is overwhelmingly Defying 

certain that Marcion made about that time a collection evidence 

of ten of them, which he expurgated to suit his views, lie rele- 

and arranged in order, with Galatians first ; this Paulines 

collection he called the Apostolicon. It runs some- *° second 

, century 

what counter to this view that, twenty years earlier, 
we already have a reference to these Epistles in 

125 



126 



THE EPISTLES OF PAUL 



Professor 
Smith's 
kindred 
thesis of- 
fends the 
facts 



Ignatius, who, with an exaggeration hardly excused 
by the fact that he is addressing members of the 
Ephesian Church, informs us that the Ephesians 
are mentioned "in every letter" by Paul. Those 
who desire ample proof that Ignatius was well 
acquainted with Paul's Epistles cannot do better 
than refer to a work, drawn up and published in 
1905 by members of the Oxford Society of Historical 
Theology, entitled The New Testament in the Apostolic 
Fathers. In this the New Testament originals and 
the citations are arranged in parallel columns in the 
order of their convincingness. 

At a still earlier date — say a.d. 95 — Clement of 
Rome cites the Paulines. As Professor W. B. Smith 
makes Herculean efforts to show that he did not, I 
venture to set before my readers a passage — chap. 
XXXV, 5, 6 of his Epistle face to face with Romans i, 
29-32 — so that they may judge for themselves. I 
print identical words in leaded type : — 



1 Clement. 

&Troppiyl/avT€$ d(f eaurwv tt a tr a p 
dd t Kiav Kai dvo/xtav, Tr\e o v e- 
^lav, ^pets, KaKOTjdeias re 
/cat d d'Kovs ^ id v pitr fioO s re 
Kal K ar a\aXiaSj 6 g offr v- 
ylav, VT e ptj (pav i av re Kal 
dXa ^ov e laif, Kevodo^iav re Kal 
d^tXo^eviav. 

Tavra ydp ol w pdff (T ov t es 
(TTvyrjTol Tip 6e(p htrdpxovaiv' oi 
fi6vov Si ol T pd(y<r ov T es aura, 
dXXd Kal ol (rvvev8oKOVPT€S 
auToTs. 



Romans. 

TreTrXTjpw^ivovs TrdcTj dd i k tUj 
IT ovqplq., irKeove^lq., KaKlq., /xea- 
Tois <p6dvov, (pdvou, ^ p Ld oSj 3 6- 
\ov, KaKotjO e las, \p ^Svpicr- 
T as, KaT a XdXovs, 6 Goar v- 
yels, {i^piaTas, vire prjipdvovs, 
d\a^6v as, i(peupeTas KaKwv, 
yoveO(nv dweLdets, davv^Tovs, daw- 
d^Tovs, dardpyovs, dve\eT}fj.6vas, 
otTLves rb di.Kaiojfj.a tov Beov iirty- 
v6vTes, Hti to. r oiavr a wpdtr- 
a ovTG s d^toi davaTOv elalv, o v 

fl6v0V aVTCL TTOLoOaLV, ctXXd 

Kal avvevSoKovo-t. toIs tt pdff- 

(TOVff I. 



The dependence of Clement's Epistle on that of Paul's 
Letter to the Romans is equally visible if the English 
renderings of them be compared, as follows : — 



THE EPISTLES OF PAUL 



127 



[Tkanslation.] 



Clement xxxv, 5, 6. 

Casting away from ourselves 
all unrighteousness and 
lawlessness, covetousness, 
strife, malignity, and 
deceit; whisperings and 
backbiting s, hatred of 
God, haughtiness and 
boastfulness, vainglory and 
inhospitableness. 

For they that practise 
these things are hateful to 
God. And not only they 
which practise them, but 
also they who consent 
with them. 



Momans i, 29-33. 

Being filled with all un- 
righteousness, wickedness, 
covetousness, maliciousness ; 
full of envy, murder, strife, 
deceit, malignity; whis- 
perers, backbiters, hate- 
ful to God, insolent, 
haughty, boastful, inven- 
tors of evil things, disobedient 
to parents, without understand- 
ing, covenant-breakers, without 
natural affection, unmerciful : 
who, knowing the ordinance of 
God, that they which prac- 
tise such things are worthy 
of death, not only do the 
same, but also consent 
with them that practise them. 

Some of the sources of Paul approximate in text 
still more to Clement — e.g., the reading Trovriplq. 
" wickedness " is not certain. In some, " malignity " 
precedes "deceit." In some, "and" is added before 
the words " not only." 

In the above parallel passages the agreement both 
in kind and sequence of the lists of vices is too close 
to be accidental ; and this is clinched by the identity 
of sense and form of the clauses which follow the two 
lists. Nor is this the only example of the influence of 
the Paulines on Clement. We give one more, giving 
the English only : — 



Faul (i Cor. i, 11-18). 

For it hath been signified unto 
me concerning you, my brethren, 
by those of Chloe, that there are 
contentions among you. Now 
this I mean, that each one of 
you saith, I am of Paul ; and I 
of Apollos ; and I of Cephas ; 
and I of Christ. 



Clement xlvii, 1. 

Take ye up the epistle of the 
blessed Paul, the Apostle, what 
did he write first to you in the 
beginning of the good tidings. 
In verity he spiritually indited 
you a letter about himself and 
Cephas and Apollos. 



128 THE EPISTLES OF PAUL 

Here Clement only alludes to Paul's letter, not 
citing it, and he betrays a knowledge of the order 
and times in which Paul wrote his Epistles ; for he 
declares that 1 Corinthians was written by Paul in 
the beginning of the good tidings — i.e., of his preach- 
ing to them of the Gospel. The Corinthians had been 
first evangelized by him three years before. The 
same phrase meets us in the same sense in Paul 
(Philippians iv, 15) : — 

And ye yourselves also know, ye Philippians, that 
in the beginning of the Oospel, when I departed from 
Macedonia, etc. 

Altogether there are thirty passages in Clement's 
Epistle to the Corinthians which indicate more or 
less clearly a knowledge of the Pauline Epistles, 
including that to Hebrews. If we were tracing the 
relation of two profane authors, no scholar would 
hesitate to acknowledge a direct influence of one on 
the other. Merely because one of them happens to 
belong to the New Testament, such writers as Van 
Manen, W. B. Smith, et hoc genus omne, feel them- 
selves in duty bound to run their heads against a 
brick wall. The responsibility, it must be admitted, 
lies at the door of orthodox theologians. For centuries 
independent scholars have been warned off the domain 
of so-called sacred literature. The Bible might not be 
treated as any other book. I once heard the late Canon 
Liddon forecast the most awful fate for Oxford if it 
ever should be. The nemesis of orthodox superstition 
is that such writers as those we are criticizing cannot 
bring themselves to treat the book fairly, as they would 
other literature ; nor is any hypothesis too crazy for 
them when they approach Church history. The laity, 
in turn, who too often do not know their right hand 



THE EPISTLES OF PAUL 129 

from their left, are so justly suspicious of the evasions 
and arriere-pensee of orthodox apologists that they are 
ready to accept any wild and unscholarly theory that 
labels itself Rationalist. 

The Epistles of Paul, then, must obviously have Presuppo- 
been widely known before Marcion issued an expur- tjig°°i,gu- 
gated edition of them in the year 140. We have mentfrom 
shown that many of them were familiar to Clement ^^^^^'^ 
of Rome in the last decade of the first century. But 
even if we had no traces of the Pauline Epistles 
before the year 140, as Van Manen and these writers 
in the teeth of the evidence maintain, it would not 
follow that they were as late as the first irrefragable 
use of them by a later author. Professor W. B. 
Smith's argument is based on the supposed silence of 
earlier authors, and he entitles his chapter on this 
subject " Silentium Saeculi." A magnificent petitio 
prineipii ! He has never thought over the aptitudes 
of the " argument from silence." This argument, as 
MM. Langlois and Seignobos remark in their Intro- 
duction to the Study of History (translation by Berry ; 
London, Duckworth, 1898), 

is based on the absence of indications with regard to 
a fact. From the circumstance of the fact [e.g., of 
Paul's writing certain epistles] not being mentioned 
in any document it is inferred that there was no such 

fact It rests on a feeling which in ordinary life is 

expressed by saying : " If it were true, we should 

have heard of it." In order that such reasoning 

should be justified it would be necessary that every 
fact should have been observed and recorded in 
writing, and that all the records should have been 
preserved. Now the greater part of the documents 
which have been written have been lost, and the 
greater part of the events which happen are not 
recorded in writing. In the majority of cases the 

E 



130 



THE EPISTLES OF PAUL 



Date of 
Paulines 
to be deter- 
mined by 
contents 



argument would be invalid. It must, therefore, be 
restricted to the cases where the conditions implied 
in it have been fulfilled. It is necessary not only 
that there should be now no documents in existence 
which mention the fact in question, but that there 
should never have been any. 

Now it is notorious that in the case of the earliest 
Christian literature there was a special cause at work 
of a kind to lead to its disappearance ; this was the 
perpetual alteration of standards of belief, and the 
anxiety of rival schools of thought to destroy one 
another's books. The philosophic authors above 
cited further point out that " every manuscript is 
at the mercy of the least accident ; its preservation 
or destruction is a matter of pure chance." In the 
case of Christian books malice prepense and odium 
iheologicum were added to accident and mere chance. 

How, then, can Mr. W. B. Smith be sure that 
there were not fifty writings before the year 140 
which by citation or otherwise attested the earlier 
existence of all or some of the Pauline Epistles ? We, 
have the merest debris of the earliest Christian 
literature. What right has he to argue as if he had 
the whole of it in the hollow of his hand ? In such 
a context the argument from silence is absolute 
rubbish, and he ought to know it. But, alas, the 
orthodox apologist has trained him in this sphere to 
be content with " demonstrations " which in any 
other would be at once extinguished by ridicule. 

Obviously the genuineness and date of the Pauline 
Epistles can only be determined by their contents, 
and not by a supposed deficiency of allusions to them 
in a literature that is well-nigh completely lost to us. 
Judged by these considerations, and by the hundreds 
of undesigned coincidences with the Book of Acts, we 



THE EPISTLES OF PAUL ' 131 

must conclude in regard to most of them that they 
are from the hand of the Paul who is so familiar a 
figure in that book. The author of the Paulines has 
just the same supreme and exclusive interest in the 
crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus the 
Messiah as the Paul of Acts ; he manifests every- 
where the same aloofness from the earthly life and 
teaching of Jesus. They yield the same story as does 
Acts of his birth and upbringing, of his persecution 
of the Messianist followers of Jesus and of his con- 
version ; much the same record of his missionary 
travels can be reconstructed from the Letters as we 
have in Acts. Yet there is no sign of borrowing on 
either side. By way of casting doubt on the Pauline 
Letters the deniers of the historicity insist on the fact 
that in Acts there is no hint of Paul ever having 
written Epistles to the Churches he created or visited. 
Why should there be ? To a companion Paul must Unde- 
have been much more than a mere writer of letters, alreement 
To Luke the letter writing must have seemed the between 
least important part of Paul's activity, although for paulinea 
us the accident of their survival makes the Epistles 
seem of prime importance. In the Epistles, on the 
other hand, it is objected that there is no indication 
of any use of Acts. How could there be, seeing that 
the book was not penned (except on Van Manen's 
hypothesis) until long after the Epistles had been 
written and sent? I admit that Paul's account in 
Galatians of his personal history is difficult to recon- 
cile with Acts, and has provided a regular crux for 
critics of every school.^ The numerous coincidences, 

1 The difiSculties largely vanish on the assumption that Galatians 
is the earliest of the Epistles, and that in Gal. ii, 1, dia d " after four " 
was misread in an early copy as dia id " after fourteen." This is 



132 THE EPISTLES OF PAUL 

however, of the two writings are all the more worthy 

of attention. If we found them agreeing pat with 

each other we should reasonably suspect some form 

of common authorship, if not of collusion. As it is 

they attest one another very much in the way in 

which the letters of Cicero attest and are attested by 

Sallust, Julius Caesar, and other contemporary or 

later writers of Roman history. There is neither 

that complete accord nor complete discord between 

Acts and Paulines, which would lead a competent 

historian to distrust either as fairly contemporary 

and trustworthy witnesses to the same epoch and 

province of history. 

Paul wit- rptig testimony of Paul to a real and historical 
nesses a • . i ,, in . , . , 

real Jesus Jesus IS to be gathered from those passages m which 

he directly refers to him or in which he refers to his 
brethren and disciples, for obviously a solar myth 
cannot have had brethren nor have personally com- 
missioned disciples and apostles. I have pointed out 
in the first chapter of Myth, Magic, and Morals that 
the interest of Paul in the historical Jesus was slender, 
and have explained why it was so. But that is no 
excuse for ignoring it, or pretending it is not there. 
Summary What does it amount to? This, that Jesus the 
evltoc'e''^ Messiah " was born of the seed of David according 
to the flesh " (Rom. i, 2) ; that " he was born of a 
woman, born under the law " — that is to say, he was 
born like any other man, and not, as a later genera- 
tion believed, of a virgin mother. It means also that 
he was born into Jewish circles, and that he was 
brought up as a Jew, obedient to the Mosaic law 



Professor Lake's conjecture. Such misreadings of the Greek 
numerals are common in ancient MSS. 



THE EPISTLES OP PAUL 133 

(Gal. iv, 4). His gospel was intended "for the Jews 
in the first instance, but also for the Greeks " (Eom. 
i, 16, ii, 11). He was "made a minister of the 
circumcision " (Rom. xv, 8) ; in other words, he had 
no quarrel with circumcision, even if he did not go 
out of his way to insist on it as part of the Law 
which, in the first Gospel it is recorded, he came not 
to destroy but to fulfil. 

According to Tim. ii, 8, Jesus was " of the seed of ^/eTsUbs 
David according to my gospel." This implies that to Timo- 
bthers than Paul did not admit the Davidic ancestry *y 
of Jesus, and it is implicitly rejected by Jesus himself 
in Mark xii, 36, as I point out in Myth, Magic, and 
Morals, ch. xii. That is good proof that the Epistle 
preserves a tradition that was quite independent on 
the later Gospels ; and that proves that even if the 
Epistles to Timothy be not Paul's, they are anyhow 
very early documents, and constitute another witness 
to the historicity of Jesus. In the first of them, 
ch. vi, 13, we learn that Christ Jesus witnessed the 
good confession before Pontius Pilate. 

The passages in which Paul insists that Jesus was Pauline 
crucified, died, and rose again are so numerous that astodeath 
they almost defy collection. In 1 Cor. xv, 3, Paul of Jesus, 
relates the story of the resurrection at length. He 
says he had "received" it from those who believed 
before himself. From them he had learned that 
Christ had "died for our sins," had been "buried," 
and " raised on the third day," after which he appeared 
first " to Cephas " or Peter, next " to the Twelve "— 
i.e., the Twelve Apostles of whom we read in the 
Gospels that Jesus chose them and sent them forth 
to herald to the Jews the speedy approach of the 
Kingdom of God. Next " he appeared to 500 brethren 



134 THE EPISTLES OE PAUL 

at once " of -whom most were still alive when Paul 
wrote; then "to James," then "to all the apostles," 
and " last of all " to Paul himself, 
and as to Qq ^^^^^ strength of this last vision of the Lord, Paul 
brew dis- claimed to be as good an apostle as any of those who 
oiples T^ere apostles before him (Gal. i, 17). Accordingly, 

in 1 Cor. ix, 1, he writes in answer to those who pooh- 
poohed his mission: " Am I not an apostle? Have 
I not seen Jesus our Lord ?" And again, 2 Cor. xi, 22, 
in the same vein: "Are they Hebrews ? So am I. 
Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of 
Abraham ? So am I. Are they ministers of Christ ? 
I speak as one beside myself. I am more ; in labours 
more abundantly, in prisons," etc. 

So 2 Cor. xii, 11 : "In nothing came I behind the 
very chiefest apostles." 

From such passages we can realize what a purely 
Hebrew business the Church was to begin with. To 
be an apostle you had to be at least a Hebrew, and it 
is clear that the earlier apostles challenged the right 
of Paul to call himself an apostle on the ground that 
he had not, as they, been a personal follower of Jesus. 
Their challenge led him to preface his Epistles with 
an assertion of his apostleship : " Paul, an apostle of 
Messiah Jesus." 

We learn further (1 Cor. xi, 23 foil.) how on a 
certain night " the Lord Jesus was betrayed " or 
handed over to his enemies (N.B. — The occasion is 
referred to as one well known) ; how he then took 
bread, and when he had given thanks, brake it, etc. 
All this ill agrees with the view that Paul believed the 
Jesus of the Gospels to be an ancient Palestinian Sun- 
God-Saviour Joshua. We read also (1 Cor. ix, 5) 
that " the brethren of the Lord," like " the rest of 



THE EPISTLES OF PAUL 135 

the apostles and Cephas," led about wives (probably 
spiritual ones), and Paul claims the same right for 
himself. In Galatians, eh. ii, he recounts how he 
went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas, and tarried with 
him fifteen days, on which occasion he associated with 
James, the brother of the solar myth. On another 
occasion this brother of the Sun-god sent emissaries 
to Antioeh to warn Peter or Cephas against eating 
with Gentiles, as Paul had taught him to do. Peter 
had been " intrusted with the gospel of the circumci- 
sion," as Paul with that of the uncircumcision. On this 
occasion there was a stand-up quarrel between Paul and 
the older apostle of the sun-myth, and Paul's Epistles 
ring from beginning to end with echoes of his quarrel 
over circumcision with the sun-myth's earlier followers. 

How do Mr. Eobertson and his friends get round all 
this evidence ? Their way out of it is beautifully 
simple. It consists in ruling out every passage as an 
interpolation that stands in their way. So I have 
seen an ill-tempered chess-player, when he lost his 
queen, kick over the chess-table and begin to swear. 
That is one device. The other is to pretend that the 
apostles with whom Paul was in personal touch were 
not apostles of the solar god, but of the Jewish high 
priest, who was also president of that secret society in 
whose bosom were acted the ritual and dramas or 
mystery-plays^ of annually slain Joshuas, of vegeta- 
tion-gods, of Osiris, Krishna, and the whole pack of 
mythical beings out of whom the Jewish Messiah 
Jesus was compacted. 

Let us take first the " myth," as Mr. Robertson The 
styles it, of the Twelve Apostles. Needless to say, Mr. g^l^ ' 

Twelve 
' Christianity and Mythology, p. 354. 



136 THE EPISTLES OF PAUL 

Robertson and his friends regard the Gospel story of 
their choice and mission as a fable. But they have 
the bad grace to turn up afresh in Paul's Epistles. 
Away with them, therefore, exclaims Mr. Eobertson ; 
and his friends echo his cry. 

" In the documents from which all scientific study 
of Christian origins must proceed — the Epistles of 
Paul — there is no evidence of such a body " {Christi- 
anity and Mythology, p. 341). 

In the passage in which the Twelve are mentioned 
(1 Cor. XV, 3 foil.) we are further instructed " there 
is one interpolation on another." It does not in the 
least matter that the passage stands in every manu- 
script, and in every ancient version and commentator. 
It offends Mr. Robertson and his friends ; so we must 
cut it out. Bos locutus est ; and be complacently 
sums up his argument (p. 342) in the words : " Paul, 
then, knew nothing of a ' twelve.' " 
Difficulties And yet he notes (p. 354) that in the fragments of 
Judas ^^® Peter Gospel recently recovered from the sands of 
Egypt, Jesus is still credited with twelve disciples 
immediately after the crucifixion, and it is therein 
related that they " wept and grieved" at the loss of 
their master. No hint, Mr. Robertson justly remarks, 
is here given of the defection of Judas from the group. 
No more is any hint given of it in Paul's Epistle. 
These two sources, therefore, support each other in a 
most unexpected manner in ignoring the Judas story. 
At the same time twelve disciples or apostles (in the 
context they are the same thing) are incredible as an 
interpolation ; for an interpolator would have adjusted 
his interpolation to the early diffused story of Judas's 
treason, and have written not " the Twelve," but " the 
Eleven." 



THE EPISTLES OE PAUL '137 

Mr. Eobertson admits that " at the stage of the 
composition of this (the Peter) Gospel, the Judas myth 
was not current," and that therefore the " Judas 
myth " is later than that of the Twelve. It must, by 
parity of reasoning, be later than the text of Paul, 
•which, therefore, if interpolated, must have been 
interpolated before the legend, if such it be, of Judas 
the traitor got abroad. Now we already meet with 
this legend in Mark, and it is taken over from him by 
the other evangelists, Matthew embellishing it with 
the tale of Judas hanging himself, and Luke in Acts 
with that of his bursting asunder. Papias, before 
A.D. 140, knew of further details of Judas's story of a 
most macabre kind ; the story stood also in the lost 
form of gospel used by Celsus, about 160-180, against 
whom Origen wrote. The tale of Judas, then, was of 
wide and early diffusion ; yet Mr. Eobertson, as we 
have seen, admits that at the time when the Peter 
Gospel emerged the Judas myth was not yet abroad. 
Neither, then, can it have been current at the stage 
of the interpolating of Paul's Epistle, and this inter- 
polation, therefore, is prior to all the Gospels, to Acts, 
and to the sources used by Papias and by the authors 
of the Peter Gospel and of Celsus's Gospel. Neverthe- 
less, on p. 357, Mr. Robertson, as a last method of 
avoiding Paul's testimony on another point, is inclined 
to " decide with Van Manen that all the Pauline 
Epistles are pseudepigraphic," and merely express the 
views of " second-century Christian champions." He 
therefore commits himself to the supposition that 
Epistles forged not earlier than a.d. 130, were yet 
interpolated in the interests of a tradition in which 
" the Twelve are treated as holding together after the 
resurrection (p. 354)," which tradition, however, must 



138 THE EPISTLES OF PAUL 

have long before that date been abrogated by the 

growing popularity of the Judas myth. Could texts 

be treated with greater levity? I may also note that 

the inconsistency of Paul's statement that Jesus " was 

seen " by the Twelve with the Judas story was so 

patent to scribes of the third and fourth centuries that 

they had already begun to alter it in the Greek texts 

and versions to the statement that " he was seen by 

the Eleven." Now is it likely that Paul's text at any 

time would have been interpolated in such a way as to 

make it contradict so early and popular a Christian 

belief as that in the treason and hurried suicide of 

Judas? The hypothesis is absurd, and not the less 

absurd because it is framed merely to save the other 

hypothesis that the twelve apostles of the Gospels were 

for the authors of the Gospels and for their readers an 

allegory of the twelve signs of the Zodiac revolving 

round the solar myth Joshua. Such are the lengths 

to which the exigencies of his " mythic " system drive 

Mr. Robertson. 

fi^°th^t'^ Some texts which imply that Paul, if he did not 

the older actually SCO Jesus walking about on this earth, yet 

apostles implv that he might have done so, he seems to 

conversed . . . . 

with Jesus despair of, and passes them over in silence. Such 

is the text, 2 Cor. v, 16 : " Wherefore we henceforth 

know no man after the flesh : even though ive have 

knoivn Christ after the flesh, yet now we know him 

so no more." 

The older apostles, as is implied in verse 12 of the 

same chapter, prided themselves on their personal 

intercourse with Jesus, and twitted Paul with never 

having enjoyed it. Paul's answer is that henceforth — 

i.e., now that he is converted — he has no interest in 

any man, not even in Jesus, as a being of flesh and 



THE EPISTLES OP PAUL 139 

blood, but only as a vessel filled with the spirit of 
election, and so a new creature in Christ, the first 
member of the heavenly kingdom on earth. He seems 
to aver that he had actually seen his Redeemer in 
the flesh, but before he was converted. But such 
knowledge with him counts nothing in his own 
favour ; nor will he allow it to count in favour of 
the older apostles. Their association with Jesus in 
the flesh failed to render them apostles in any other 
sense than his vision of the risen Jesus rendered him 
one also. 

But there are other texts in Paul most inconvenient 
to the zodiacal theory of the apostles. Such are the 
texts I have cited from Galatians. How does 
Mr. Eobertson get rid of their evidence ? 

He begins (p. 342) with the usual caveat that the Epistle to 
Epistle to the Galatians is probably not genuine, and, attests 
even if it be, is nevertheless " frequently interpolated." reality of 
And yet any reader, with eyes in his head and an John,' and 
intelligence behind them, must recognize in this James 
Epistle a writing which, above all other ancient 
writings, rings true, and is instinct with the per- 
sonality of a missionary, who in it bares his inmost 
heart to his converts. Against this impression, which 
it must leave upon anyone but a pedant, and against the 
fact that in the external tradition there is nothing to 
suggest either that it is not genuine or that it is 
a mass of interpolations, what has Mr. Robertson to 
offer us in support of his thesis? Nothing, except 
his ipse dixit. We are to accept on a purely philo- 
logical question the verdict of one whose mythological 
equations are on a par with those of the editors of the 
Banner of Israel. However, he does condescend to 
explain away the apostles with whom, at Jerusalem, 



140 THE EPISTLES OE PAUL 

Paul held personal converse ; and, taking from 
Professor W. B. Smith a cue, which is also caught 
at by Professor Drews, he assures us that the Peter {or 
Cephas), James, and John, whom Paul knew per- 
sonally, were not men who had been " in direct 
intercourse with Jesus," but were merely " leaders 
of an existing sect" — i.e., of the secret sect of Jews 
who, after celebrating endless ritual dramas of 
annually slain Joshuas and vegetation-gods, had, 
by dint of prolonged archaeological study of pagan 
mythology, art, and statuary, elaborated the four 
Gospels, adopted the Old Testament as their holy 
scripture, and Messianic Judaism as their distinctive 
creed ; for such in essence the Christianity of the last 
half of the first century was, as even Mr. Robertson 
will hardly deny. 

But Paul (Gal. i, 18, 19) expressly ranks Peter, or 
Cephas, together with James, among the apostles, 
using that word in a wide sense of persons commis- 
sioned by Jesus ; and he describes James and Cephas 
and John (ii, 9) as men " who were reputed to be 
pillars," or leading men of the Church. He declares 
that in the end they made friends with him, and 
arranged that he should preach the Kingdom to the 
uncircumcised Gentiles as they were doing to the 
circumcised Jews. 
The Now who had commissioned these three apostles, if 

"Twelve '' 

were apos- ^^^ Jesus ? Who had taught them about the Kingdom 
ties of the and sent them forth to proclaim it? Mr. Robertson, 
High oddly enough, scents a difficulty in the idea of a Sun- 

Priest! God- Saviour Joshua, albeit son of Miriam a virgin, 
sending forth apostles ; so he decides that " apostles " 
in Galatians means "the twelve apostles of the 
Patriarch, of whom he must have had knowledge " 



THE EPISTLES OP PAUL 141 

(p. 342). Of what Patriarch? Why, of course, 
" of the Patriarch or High Priest," whose " twelve 
apostles " formed " an institution which preceded and 
survived the beginning of the Christian era" (p. 344). 
And, to use Mr. Robertson's own phrase in such 
connections, " the plot thickens " when we find (ibid.) 
that 

the twelve Jewish Apostles aforesaid, who were 
commissioned by the High Priest — and later by 
the Patriarch at Tiberias — to collect tribute from 
the scattered faithful, 

were no others than the Twelve Apostles who wrote 

the "teaching of the Twelve Apostles," recovered in And they 

1873 by Bryennios ! These " Judaizing apostles ^^^(j^cfte/ 

preached circumcision," ^ and " were among the 

leaders of the Jesuist community in its pre-Pauline 

days." 

This discovery of Mr. Robertson's is of stupendous 
interest. It amounts to nothing less than this : that 
the pre-Pauline secret sect of " Jesuists " which kept 
up in Jerusalem the cult of the Sun-God-Saviour 
Joshua, with his late Persian appendage of a virgin 
mother Miriam ; and, not content with doing that, 
padded it out with ritual dramas of vegetation-gods, 
cults of Osiris, of Dionysus, Proteus, Hermes, Janus, 
and fifty other gods and heroes (whose legends 
Mr. Robertson has studied in Smith's Dictionary of 
Mythology) — this sect, I say, had for its president 
the Jewish High Priest, and for its " pillars " the 
apostles, or messengers, whom the said High Priest 
was in the habit of sending out to the Jews of the 
Dispersion for the collection of the Temple tribute ! 

' Why did they not do so in their " teaching," if it was intended 
(see p. 344) for the Jews of the Dispersion, instead of confining them- 
selves to precepts " simply ethical, non-priestly, and non-Eabbinical " ? 



142 THE EPISTLES OF PAUL 

This High Priest, we further learn on p. 342, was 
the " man " who sent out the apostles in the first verse 
of Galatians, from which apostles Paul expressly dis- 
sociates himself when he writes: "Paul, an apostle, 
not from men, neither through a man, but through 
Jesus Christ." Here we are to understand that Paul 
is pitting his Sun-God-Saviour Joshua against the 
Jewish High Priest. The Sun-god has sent him 
forth, though not the other apostles. That must 
be Mr. Kobertson's interpretation, and we must give 
up the older and more obvious one which saw in the 
words " not from men, neither through man," no 
reference to a Jewish high priest or priests, but 
a mere enhancement of the claim, ever reiterated 
by Paul, that he owed his apostleship direct to the 
risen Jesus Christ and God the Father; so that he 
held a divine and spiritual, not an earthly and carnal, 
commission. 

My readers must by now feel very much like poor 
little Alice when the Black Queen was dragging her 
across Wonderland. If they find the sensation 
delightful, they can, I daresay, enjoy plenty more 
of it by a closer study of Mr. Robertson's books on the 
subject. If they do not like it, then they must not 
blame me for taking him seriously ; for is he not 
acclaimed by Dr. Drews as our greatest exegete of the 
New Testament, Dr. Frazer alone excepted? Is he 
not the spiritual guide of learned German orientalists 
like Winckler and Jensen ? Has not Professor W. B. 
Smith assured us of how much he feels he can learn 
from such a scholar and thinker, though "he has 
preferred not to poach on his preserves." "• It is, 

'■ Bcce Deus, p. 8. 



THE EPISTLES OE PAUL l43 

therefore, incumbent on me to probe his work a little 
further. Let us return to the passage, 1 Cor. xv, 5, 
where we are told that Jesus appeared first to Cephas. 
We have already seen that the Peter of the Gospels is 
in this new system alternately a sign of the Zodiac, 
a Mithraic myth, an alias of Janus, of Proteus, a 
member of any other Pantheon you like. Obviously 
he has nothing to do with Paul's acquaintance. The 
latter in turn is " not one of the pupils and com- 
panions of the crucified Jesus" (p. 348). How, 
indeed, could he be, seeing that Jesus is a Sun-god 
crucified upon the Milky Way ? No, he is something 
much humbler — to wit, " simply one of the apostles 
of a Judaic cult that preaches circumcision," and, 
more definitely, as we have seen, one of the twelve 
apostles of the Jewish High Priest. James and John 
must equally have belonged to this interesting band 
of apostles. 

This being so, it is pertinent to ask why Paul so Jesus of 
persistently indicates that these apostles and pillars was Je^sus 
of the Church bad seen Jesus and conversed with him Ben Pan- 
in the flesh. To this question Mr. Eobertson attempts 
no answer. For he believes that the crucified Jesus, 
to whom Paul refers on every page of his Epistles, 
was not the Jesus of Christian tradition, but " Jesus 
Ben Pandira, dead long before, and represented by no 
preserved biography or teachings whatever " (p. 378). 
This Jesus had " really been only hanged on a tree " 
(ibid.) ; but " the factors of a crucifixion myth," 
among which we must not forget its " phallic signifi- 
cance," for that " should connect with all its other 
aspects" (p. 375), — these factors, says Mr. Eobertson, 
" were conceivably strong enough to turn the hanging 
into a crucifixion." 



144 THE EPISTLES OF PAUL 

dUd one ''•* ^ol'ows that Paul was quite mistaken in indicating 

hundred the apostles whom he conversed with at Jerusalem to 
before ^^ apostles of the crucified one ; in order to be so, 
they must all have been over-ripe centenarians, since 
Pandira had died at least a hundred years before. It 
matters nothing that on the next page (379) Mr. 
Eobertson entertains doubts as to whether this worthy 
ever lived at all. Who else, he asks (p. 364), could 
" the Pauline Jesus, who has taught nothing and done 
nothing," be, save "a doctrinal evolution from the 
Jesus of a hundred years before ? " We must, he adds 
with delightful ignoratio elenchi, " perforce assume 
such a long evolution." Otherwise it would not be 
" intelligible that, even if he had been only hanged 
after stoning, he should by that time have come to 
figure mythically as crucified." He admits that Paul's 
" references to a crucified Jesus are constant, and offer 
no sign of interpolation." And he is quite ready to 
admit also that, " if the Jesus of Paul were really 
a personage put to death under Pontius Pilate, the 
Epistles (of Paul) would give us the strongest ground 
for accepting an actual crucifixion." But, alas, the 
Jesus put to death under Pontius Pilate, the Javelin- 
man, is no more than an allegory of Joshua the 
ancient Palestinian Sun-god, rolled up with a vegeta- 
tion-god and other mythical beings, and slain afresh 
once a year. There is thus no alternative left but to 
identify Paul's crucified Jesus with Jesus Ben Pandira ; 
and Mr. Eobertson, with a sigh of relief, embraces 
the alternative, for he feels that Paul's evidence is 
menacing his whole structure. 

It was nasty of Paul not to indicate more clearly to 
us that by his crucified Jesus he intended Jesus Ben 
Pandira ; and, in view of the circumstance that we 



THE EPISTLES OE PAUL 145 

have left to us no " biography or teachings whatever " 
of this Jesus, Paul might surely have communicated 
to us some details of his career. It would have saved 
Mr. Robertson the trouble of inventing them. 

At first sight, too, it was extremely inconsiderate of ^^™^gj. ^f 
Paul to "thicken the plot" by bringing on his stage Jesus, only 
a brother of Jesus Ben Pandira or of the solar myth ^jg^^^'^' 
Joshua. I am not sure which. But Mr. Robertson, sense 
like Alice, is out for strange adventures, and prepared 
to face any emergency. " Brother," therefore, is here 
to be taken in a Pickwickian sense only. And here 
we will let Dr. W. B. Smith take up the parable, for 
it is he who has, with the help of St. Jerome, found 
his friends a way out of their difficulty. Moreover, he 
is more in need of a way out than even Mr. Robertson ; 
for he declines to admit behind Jesus of Nazareth even 
— what Mr. Robertson styles, p. 364 — " a Talmudic 
trace of a Jesus (Ben Pandira), who was put to death 
on the eve of the Passover about a century before the 
time of Pontius Pilate." Professor Smith cannot 
hesitate, therefore, to be of opinion that, when Paul 
calls James a brother of the Lord, he does not " imply 
any family kinship," but one of a " class of earnest 
Messianists, zealots of obedience " to the Mosaic Law. 
He appeals in confirmation of his conjecture to the 
apostrophe of Jesus when his mother and brethren 
came to arrest him as an ecstatic (Mark iii, 31-35) : — 

Who is my mother and my brethren? whoso- 
ever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother 
and sister and mother. 

He also appeals to 1 Cor. ix, 5, where Paul alludes 
to " the brethren of the Lord " as claiming a right to 
lead about a wife that is a sister. And he argues that 
those who in Corinth, to the imperilling of Christian 

L 



146 THE EPISTLES OE PAUL 

unity, said, some, " I am of Cephas"; others, "I am 
of Christ "; others, " I am of ApoUos," were known as 
brethren of Christ, of Cephas, etc. Now it is true that 
Paul and other early Christian writers regarded the 
members of the Church as brethren or as sisters, just 
as the members of monastic society have ever styled 
themselves brothers and sisters of one another. But 
there is no example of a believer being called a brother 
of the Lord or of Jesus? The passage in Mark and its 
parallels are, according to Professor Smith, purely 
legendary and allegorical, since he denies that Jesus 
ever lived ; and he has no right, therefore, to appeal 
to them in order to decide what Paul intended by the 
phrase when he used it, as before, not of a mythical, 
but of a concrete, case. However, if Professor Smith 
is intent on appealing to the Gospels, then he must 
allow equal weight to such a text as Matthew xiii, 55 : 
"Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother 
called Mary ? and his brethren, James and Joseph 
and Simon and Judas ? And his sisters, are they not 
all with us ? " 

Did all these people, we may ask, including his 
mother, stand in a merely spiritual relationship to 
Jesus? Impossible. If they were not flesh and 
blood relations, then the passage is meaningless even 
as allegorical romance. Again, in the very passage 
to which Professor Smith appeals (Mark iii, 31-35), 
we read that his mother and brethren came and stood 
without, and it was their interference with him that 
provoked the famous apostrophe. Were they, too, 
only spiritually related to him ? Were they, too, 

' Note in Matthew the phrase (xxiii, 8) : " But be ye not called 
Eabbi : for one is your teacher, and all ye are brethren. " 



THE EPISTLES OF PAUL 147 

" earnest Messianists, zealots of obedience " ? In 
John's Gospel we hear afresh that his brethren 
believed not in him. Were they, too, mere " earnest 
Messianists, zealots of obedience"? When Josephus, 
again, t^icg alludes to "James the Just who was ^ ' 
brother of Jesus," is he, an enemy of the Christian 
faith, adopting Christian slang ? Does he, too, mean 
merely to "denote religious relation without the 
remotest hint of blood kinship " ? In 1 Cor. ix, 5, 
the most natural interpretation is that the brothers 
of the Lord are his real brothers, whose names are 
supplied in the Gospels. 

Here, then, are four wholly independent groups of Both in 
ancient documents, of which one gives us the names intheGos- 
of four of the brothers of Jesus, clearly indicating pels the^ 
that they were real brothers, and sons of Mary and has 
the Carpenter ; while the other group (the Paulines) parents 
speak as ever of his " brothers," but give us the brothers 
name of one only, James; the third — viz., the works *?^ 
of Josephus — allude to one only — viz., James, but 
without indicating that there were not several. 
Lastly, the we document (Acts xxi, 18) testifies that 
" Paul went in with us unto James." Is not this 
enough ? Surely, if we were here treating of profane 
history, no sane student would for a moment hesitate 
to accept such data, furnished by wholly independent 
and coincident documents, as historical. Professor 
Smith's other guess, that in 1 Cor. ix, 5, brethren 
means spiritwal brethren, just begs the question, and, 
like his spiritual interpretation of James's relation- 
ship, offends Greek idiom, as I said above. Paul, 
like the author of Acts xxi, 17, speaks of " the 
brother " or of "the brethren " — e.g., in 1 Cor. viii, 11 : 
" the brother ton: -whose sake Christ died"; but when 



148 



THE EPISTLES OF PAUL 



Jerome's 

opinion 

about 

Jesus's 

brothers 



the person whose brother it is is named, a blood 
relationship is always conveyed in the Paulines as in 
the rest of the New Testament. If " brethren of the 
Lord " in 1 Cor. ix, 5, does not mean real brethren, 
why are they distinguished from all the apostles, who 
on Professor Smith's assumption, above all others, 
merited to be called " brethren of the Lord"? The 
appeal, moreover, to 1 Cor. i, 12 foil., is absurd ; for 
Paul is alluding there to factions among the believers 
of Corinth ; how is it possible to interpret these 
factions as brotherhoods? There was only one 
brotherhood of the faithful, according to Paul's ideal ; 
and the relationship involved in such phrases as 
" I of Cephas," " I of Paul," is that of a convert to 
his teacher and evangelist, not that of spiritual 
brethren to each other. As used by his Corinthian 
converts, such phrases were a direct menace to 
spiritual brotherhood and unity, and not an expres- 
sion of it ; and that is why Paul wished to hear 
no more of them. When he makes appeal to them 
Professor Smith damages rather than benefits his 
argument. 

There remains the appeal to Jerome {Ecce Deus, 
p. 237) :— 

No less an authority than Jerome has expressed 
the correct idea on this point. In commenting on 
Gal. i, 19, he says (in sum) : " James was called the 
Lord's brother on account of his high character, his 
incomparable faith, and his extraordinary wisdom ; the 
other apostles are also called brothers " (John xx, 17). 

Here Professor Smith withholds from his readers 
the fact that Jerome regarded James the brother of 
Jesus as his first cousin. It is just as difficult for a 
mythical personage to have a first cousin as to have 
a brother. Moreover, the reasons which actuated 



THE EPISTLES OP PAUL 149 

Jerome to deny that Jesus had real brethren was — 
as the Encyclopedia Biblica (art. James) points out — 
" a prepossession in favour of the perpetual virginity 
of Mary the mother of Jesus." It is, indeed, a 
hollow theory that, in order to its justification, must 
take refuge in the Encratite rubbish of Jerome. 

If the crucified Jesus of Paul was Jesus Ben Mutual in- 
Pandira, stoned to death and hanged on a tree dence of 
between the years b.c. 106-79, then how can Paul Pauline 
have written (1 Cor. xv, 6) that the greater part of pel stories 
the 500 brethren to whom Jesus appeared were still °f '^^ 

'^'^ risen 

alive ? I neither assert nor deny the possibility of so Christ 
many at once having fallen under the spell of a 
common illusion, though I believe the annals of 
religious ecstasy might afford parallels. But this I 
do maintain, that the passage records a conviction in 
Paul's mind that Jesus, after his death by crucifixion, 
had appeared to many at once, and that not a 
hundred years before, but at a comparatively recent 
time. That is also Mr. Robertson's view ; for, rather 
than face the passage, he whips out his knife and 
cuts it out of the text. Yet there is not a single 
reason for doing so, except that it upsets his hypo- 
thesis ; for the circumstance that the incident cannot 
be reconciled with the Gospel stories of the apparitions 
of the risen Christ clearly shows that Paul's text is 
independent on them. Mr. Robertson argues that, if 
it were not a late interpolation, the evangelists would 
have found it in Paul and incorporated it in their 
Gospels. I ask in turn. Why did the interpolator 
thrust into the Pauline letter not only this passage, 
but at least two other incidents (the apparitions to 
Peter and James) which figure in no canonical 
Gospel? Why, if the Evangelists were bound to 



The 
Pauline 



150 THE EPISTLES OP PAUL 

consult the Paulines in giving an account of these 
posthumous appearances, was not the hypothetical 
interpolator of the Paulines equally bound to consult 
them ? The most natural hypothesis is that the 
Gospels on one side and the Pauline Epistles on the 
other led independent lives, till their respective 
traditions were so firmly fixed that no one could 
tamper with either of them. The conflict, therefore, 
such as it is, between this Pauline passage and the 
Gospels is the strongest possible proof of its 
genuineness. 

Mr. Robertson's treatment of the Pauline descrip- 
account of tion of the origin of the Lord's Supper as described 
theEuoha- ^^ j q^^^ ^.j^ 23-27, is another example of his deter- 
mination simply to rule out all evidence which he 
cannot explain away. "It is evident," he writes 
(p. 347), that this whole passage, "or at least the 
first part of it, is an interpolation." We would expect 
him to produce support for this view from some MS. 
or ancient version for what is so evident. Not at all ; 
for he takes no interest in, and has no turn for, the 
scientific criticism of texts a posteriori, but deals with 
them by a priori intuitions of his own. " The 
passage in question (verses 23, 24, 25) has every 
appearance of being an interpolation." He is the 
first to discover such an appearance. It is well known 
that the words " took bread " as far as " in my blood " 
recur in Luke xxii, 19, 20 ; and this is how Mr. 
Eobertson deals with the problem of their recurrence : 
" No one pretends that the Third Gospel was in exist- 
ence in Paul's time ; and the only question is whether 
Luke copied the Epistle or a late copyist supplemented 
the Epistle from Luke." 

Surely there is another alternative — viz., that a 



Mj. ^.TYIt 



THE EPISTLES OF PAUL .151 

copyist of Luke supplemented the Gospel from Paul. 
This is as conceivable as that a copyist of Paul 
supplemented the Epistle from Luke. It is also an 
hypothesis that has textual evidence in favour of it ; 
for the Bezan Codex and several old Latin MSS., as 
well as the old Syriac version, omit the words, which 
is given on your behalf, as far as on your behalf is shed 
— that is to say, the end of verse 19 and the whole of 
verse 20. * Here we have a palmary example of the 
mingled temerity and ignorance with which Mr. 
Eobertson applies his principle of " vital interpola- 
tions " to remove anything from the New Testament 
texts which stands in the way of his far-fetched hypo- 
theses and artificial combinations. 

But it is time to inquire whence Mr. Robertson JesusBen 
derived his certainty that Jesus Ben Pandira died in Talmud is 
the reign of Alexander Jannaeus, b.c. 106-79. Dr. Jesus of 
Samuel Kraus, in his exhaustive study of Talmudic 
notices of Jesus of Nazareth {Das Leben Jesu nach 
jiidischen Quellen, Berlin, 1902, p. 242) assumes as a 
fact beyond dispute that the Jeschu or Joshua Ben 
Pandira (or Ben Stada or Ben Satda) mentioned in 
the Toldoth Jeschu is Jesus of Nazareth. In the 
Toldoth he is set in the reign of Tiberius. This 
Toldoth is not earlier than a.d. 400, and took its 
information from the pseudo-Hegesippus. The 
Spanish historian Abraham b. Baud (about a.d. 1100) 
already noticed that the Talmudic tradition alluded 
to by Mr. Eobertson set the birth of Jesus of Nazareth 
a hundred years too early ; but the same tradition 
corrects itself in that it assigns Salome Alexandra to 
Alexander Jannai as his wife, and then, confusing her 
with Queen Helena the proselyte, brings the incident 
down to the right date. " The truth is," says Dr. 



c. 



152 THE EPISTLES OF PAUL 

Kraus (p. 183), " we have got to do here with a chrono- 
logical error." Lightfoot, to whose Horae Hehraicae 
Mr. Robertson refers in his footnote (p. 363), also 
assumed that by Jesus Ben Pandira, or son of Pan- 
thera, the Talmudists intended Jesus of Nazareth. 
Celsus (about a.d. 170) attested a Jewish tradition that 
Jesus Christ was Mary's son by a Roman soldier named 
Panthera, and later on even Christian writers worked 
Panthera into Mary's pedigree. Such is the origin of 
the Talmudic tradition exploited by Mr. Robertson. 
It is almost worthless ; but, so far as it goes, it over- 
throws Mr. Robertson's hypothesis. 
The The Epistles to Colossians, Thessalonians, and the 

EpFstles of so-called Pastorals, if they are not genuine works of 
Paul so Paul, form so many fresh witnesses against the 
fresh wit- hypothesis of Mr. Robertson and his friends. Such 
nesses a verse as Col. ii, 14, where in highly metaphorical 
language Jesus is said to have nailed the bond of all 
our trespasses to the cross, is an unmistakable 
allusion to the historical crucifixion ; as also is the 
phrase "blood of his cross" in the same epistle, 
i, 20. In 1 Thess. iv, 14, is attested the belief that 
Jesus died and rose again ; and again in v, 10. I 
have already indicated the express reference to the 
crucifixion under Pontius Pilate in 1 Tim. v, 13, and 
the statement in 2 Tim. ii, 8, that Jesus Christ, 
risen from the dead, was of the seed of David. These 
epistles may not be from Paul's hand, but they "are 
unmistakably early; and their forgers, if they be 
forged, undoubtedly held that Jesus had really lived. 
So also did the author, whoever he was, of Hebrews, 
who speaks, ch. ii, 9, of Jesus suffering death, in 
ii, 18, of his " having suffered, being tempted." In 
vii, 14, we read this : " For it is evident that our 



THE EPISTLES OF PAUL 153 

Lord hath sprung out of Judah." If Jesus was only 
a myth, how could this writer have written, probably 
before a.d. 70, that he was of the tribe of Judah ? In 
ch. xii, 2, we are told that Jesus " endured the cross." 
That this epistle was penned before the destruction 
of Jerusalem by Titus is made probable by the state- 
ment in ix, 8, that " the first tabernacle is yet stand- 
ing." Indeed, most of the epistle is turned into 
nonsense by any other hypothesis. 

The first Epistle of Peter is very likely pseudepi- Catholic 
graphic, but it cannot be later than the year 100. It 
testifies, iv, 1, that Christ " suffered in the flesh." 

The Johannine Epistles are probably from the 
same hand as the Fourth Gospel, and belong to the 
period 90-110 a.d. Their author insists (1 John iv, 2), 
as against the Docetes, that " Jesus Christ is come in 
the flesh." 

The Epistle of Jude, about the same date, exhorts 
those to whom it was addressed to " remember the 
words which have been spoken before by the Apostles 
of our Lord Jesus Christ." 

Lastly, the Revelation of John can be deflnitely Book of 
dated about a.d. 93. It testifies to the existence of l^evelation 
several churches in Asia Minor in that age, and, in 
spite of the fanciful and oriental character of its 
imagery, it is from beginning to end irreconcilable 
with the supposition that its author did not believe 
in a Jesus who had lived, died, and was coming 
again to establish the new Jerusalem on earth. In 
ch. xxii, 16, Jesus is made to testify that he is the 
root and offspring of David. That does not look as 
if its author regarded Jesus as a solar or any other 
sort of myth. 



Chapter Y 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE 



Evidence 

of 

Josephus 



It remains to examine how this school of writers 
handle the evidence with regard to the earliest church 
supplied by Jewish or Pagan writers. I have said 
enough incidentally of the evidence of the Talmud 
and Toldoth Jeschu, but there remains that of 
Josephus. In the work on the Antiquities- of the Jews, 
Bk. xviii, 5, 2 (116 foil.), there is an account of John 
the Baptist, and it is narrated that Herod, fearing an 
insurrection of John's followers, threw him in bonds 
into the castle of Machaerus, and there murdered 
him. Afterwards, when Herod's army was destroyed, 
the Jewish population attributed the disaster to the 
wrath of God, and saw in it a retribution for slaying 
so just a man.^ On the whole, Josephus's account 



1 The passage in which Josephus mentions John the Baptist inns 
Eis follows : " To some of the Jews it seemed that Herod had had his 
army destroyed by God, and that it was a jast retribution on him for 
his severity towards John called the Baptist. For it was indeed 
Herod who slew him, though a good man, and one who bade the Jews 
in the practise of virtue and in the use of justice one to another and 
of piety towards God to walk together in baptism. For this was the 
condition under which baptism would present itself to God as accept- 
able, if they availed themselves of it, not by way of winning pardon 
for certain sins, but after attaining personal holiness, on account of 
the soul having been cleansed beforehand by righteousness. Because 
men flocked to him, for they took the greatest pleasure in listening to 
his words, Herod took fright and apprehended that his vast influence 
over people would lead to some outbreak of rebellion. For it looked 
as if they would follow his advice in all they did, and he came to the 
conclusion that far the best course was, before any revolution was 

154 



EXTEEXAL EYIDEXCE ' 155 

accords with the picture we have of John in the 
Synoptic Gospels, except that in the Gospels the 
place and circumstances of his murder are differentlv 
given. This difference is good evidence that Jose- 
phns's account is independent of the Christian 
sources. Nevertheless, Dr. Drews airily pretends 
that there is a strong suspicion of its being a forgery 
by some Christian hand. As for .John the Baptist 
as we meet him in the Gospels, he is, says Drews, no 
historical personage. One expects some reason to be 
given for this negative conclusion, but gets none 
whatever except a magnificent hint that " a complete 
understanding of the baptism in the Jordan can only 
be attained, if here, too, we take into consideration 
the translation of the baptism into astrological terms " 
{Christ Myth, p. 121). 

And he proceeds to dilate on the thesis that the The astral 
baptism of Jesus in the Jordan was "the reflection Baptist 
upon earth of what originally took place among the 
stars." This discovery rests on an equation — pre- 
philological, of course, like that of "Maria" with 
" Myrrha " — of the name " John " or " .Jehohanan " 
with " Cannes " or " Ea," the Babylonian Water-god. 
However, this writer is here not a little incoherent, for 
only on the page before he has assured us, as of some- 
thing unquestionable, that John was closely relat-ed 
to the Essenes, and baptized the penitents in the 
Jordan in the open air. Was Jordan, too, up in 

stalled by him, to anticipate it by destroying him : otherwise the 
upheaval woold come, and plunge luin into trouble and remorse. So 
John fell a victim to Herod's suspicions, was boond and sent to the 
fortress of Hachaems, of which I have above spoken, and there 
murdered. But the Jews were convinced that the loss of his army 
was by way of retribution for the treatment of John, and that it was 
God who willed the undoing of Here i. ' 



156 EXTERNAL EVIDENCE 

heaven? Were the Essenes there also? Mr. 
Robertson, of course, pursues the same simple 
method of disposing of adverse evidence, and asserts 
(p. 396) that Josephus's account of John "is plainly 
open to that suspicion of interpolation which, in the 
case of the allusion to Jesus in the same book {Antiq., 
xviii, 3,3), has become for most critics a certainty." 
He does not condescend to inform his readers that the 
latter passage^ is absent from important MSS., was 
unknown to Origen, and is therefore rightly bracketed 
by editors ; whereas the account of John is in all 
MSS., and was known to Origen. But as we have 

' The suspect passage in which Josephus refers to Jesus runs thus, 
Ant. xviii, 3, 3: " Now about this time came Jesus, a wise man, if 
indeed one may call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, 
a teacher of such men as receive what is true with pleasure, and he 
attracted many Jews and many of the Greeks. This was the ' Christ.' 
And when on the accusation of the principal men amongst us Pilate had 
condemned him to the cross, they did not desist who had formerly loved 
him, for he appeared to them on the third day alive again ; the divine 
Prophets having foretold both this and a myriad other wonderful 
things about him ; and even now the race of those called Christians 
after him has not died out." 

I have italicized such clauses as have a chance to be authentic, and 
as may have led Origen to say of Josephus that he did not believe 
Jesus to be the Christ. For the clause " This was the Christ " must 
have run, "This was the so-called Christ." We have the same ex- 
pression in Matt, i, 16, and in the passage, undoubtedly genuine, in 
which Josephus refers to James, Ant., xx, 9, 1. Here Josephus relates 
that the Sadduoee High-priest Ananus (son of Annas of the New 
Testament) , in the interval of anarchy between the departure of one 
Eoman Governor, Festus, and the arrival of another, Albinus, set up 
a court of his own, " and bringing before it the brother of Jesus who 
was called Christ — James was his name — and some others, he accused 
them of being breakers of the Law, and had them stoned." 

In the History of the Jewish War, iv, 5, 2, Josephus records his 
belief that the Destruction of Jerusalem was a divine nemesis for the 
murder of this Ananus by the Idumeans. 

There is not now, nor ever was, any passage in Josephus where the 
fall of Jerusalem was explained as an act of divine nemesis for the 
murder of James by Ananus. Origen, as Professor Burkitt has 
remarked, "had mixed up in his commonplace book the account of 
Ananus's murder of James and the remarks of Josephus on Ananus's 
own murder. " 



EXTEENAL EVIDENCE '157 

seen before, Mr. Robertson is one of those gifted 
people who can discern by peculiar intuitions of their 
own that everything is interpolated in an author 
which offends their prejudices. He has a lofty con- 
tempt for the careful sifting of the textual tradition, 
the examination of MSS. and ancient versions to 
which a scholar resorts, before he condemns a passage 
of an ancient author as an interpolation. Moreover, 
a scholar feels himself bound to show why a passage 
was interpolated, in whose interests. For, regarded 
as an interpolation, a passage is as much a problem 
to him as it was before. Its genesis has still to be 
explained. But Messrs. Eobertson and Drews and 
Smith do not condescend to explain anything or give 
any reasons. A passage slays their theories ; there- 
fore it is a " vital interpolation." It is the work of an 
ancient enemy sowing tares amid their wheat. 

John the Baptist having been removed in this reference'^ 
cavalier fashion from the pages of Josephus, we to James, 
can hardly expect James the brother of Jesus to jesug^"^" 
be left, and he is accordingly kicked out without 
ceremony. It does not matter a scrap that the 
passage (Antiquities xx, 9, 1, 200) stands in the Greek 
MSS. and in the Latin Version. As Professor W. B. 
Smith's argument on the point is representative of 
this class of critics, we must let him speak first 
(p. 235) :— 

Origen thrice quotes as from Josephus the statement 
that the Jewish sufferings at the hands of Titus were 
a divine retribution for the slaying of James. 

He then proceeds to quote the text of Origen, 
Against Celsus, i, 47, giving the reference, but 
mangling in the most extraordinary manner a text 
that is clear and consecutive. For Origen begins 



158 EXTEENAL EVIDENCE 

(ch. xlvii) by saying that Celsus " somehow accepted 
John as a Baptist who baptized Jesus," and then adds 
the following : — 

In the Eighteenth Book of his Antiquities of the 
Jews Josephus bears witness to John as having been 
a Baptist, and as promising purification to those who 
underwent the rite. Now this writer, although not 
believing in Jesus as the Christ, in seeking after the 
cause of the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of 
the Temple, whereas he ought to have said that the 
conspiracy against Jesus was the cause of these 
calamities befalling the people since they put to 
death Christ, who was a prophet, says, nevertheless — 
although against his will, not far from the truth — that 
these disasters happened to the Jews as a punishment 
for the death of James the Just, who was a brother of 
Jesus called Christ, the Jews having put him to 
death, although he was a man most distinguished 
for his righteousness (i.e., strict observance of the 
law). 

In a later passage of the same treatise (ii, 13), which 
Mr. Smith cites correctly, Origen refers again to the 
same passage of the Antiquities (xx, 200) thus : " Titus 
demolished Jerusalem, as Josephus writes, on account 
of James the Just, the brother of Jesus, the so-called 
Christ." Also in Origen's commentary on Matthew 
xiii, 55, we have a like statement that the sufferings 
of the Jews were a punishment for the murder of 
James the Just. 

Origen therefore cites Josephus thrice about James, 
and in each case he has in mind the same passage — 
viz., XX, 200. But Mr. Smith, after citing the shorter 
passage. Contra Celsum, ii, 13, goes on as follows : — 

The passage is still found in some Josephus manu- 
scripts ; but, as it is wanting in others, it is, and must 
be, regarded as a Christian interpolation older than 
Origen. 



EXTEENAL EVIDENCE 159 

Will Mr. Smith kindly tell us which are the MSS. 
in which are found any passage or passages referring 
the fall of Jerusalem to the death of James, and so 
far contradicting Josephus's interpretation of Ananus's 
death in the History of the Jeivish War, iv, 5, 2. 
Niese, the latest editor, knows of none, nor did any 
previous editor know of any. 

Mr. Smith then proceeds thus : — 

Now, since this phrase is certainly interpolated in 
the one place, the only reasonable conclusion is that 
it is interpolated in the other. 

But "this phrase" never stood in Josephus at all, 
even as an interpolation, and on examination it turns 
out that Professor Smith's prejudice against the 
passage in which Josephus mentions James, is merely 
based on the muddle committed by Origen. Such 
are the arguments by which he seeks to prove that 
Josephus's text was interpolated by a Christian, as if 
a Christian interpolator, supposing there had been 
one (and he has left no trace of himself), would not, 
as the protest of Origen sufficiently indicates, have 
represented the fall of Jerusalem as a divine punish- 
ment, not for the slaying of James, but for the slaying 
of Jesus. Having demolished the evidence of Josephus 
in such a manner, Mr. Smith heads ten of his pages 
with the words, " The Silence of Josephus," as if he 
had settled all doubts for ever by mere force of his 
erroneous ipse dixit. 

The next section of Professor Smith's work {Ecce The testi- 
Deus) is headed with the same effrontery of calm xaTitua^ 
assertion : " The Silence of Tacitus." This historian 
relates {Annals, xv, 44) that Nero accused the Chris- 
tians of having burned down Rome. Nero 



160 EXTEENAL EVIDENCE 

subjected to most exquisite tortures those whom, 
hated for their crimes, the populace called Chrestians. 
The author of this name, Christus, had been executed 
in the reign of Tiberius by the Procurator Pontius 
Pilate ; and, though repressed for the moment, the 
pernicious superstition was breaking forth again, not 
only throughout Judsea, the fountain-head of this 
mischief, but also throughout the capital, where all 
things from anywhere that are horrible or disgraceful 
pour in together and are made a religion of. 

In the sequel Tacitus describes how an immense 
multitude, less for the crime of incendiarism than in 
punishment of their hatred of humanity, were con- 
victed ; how some were clothed in skins of wild beasts 
and thrown to dogs, while others were crucified or 
burned alive. Nero's savagery was such that it 
awoke the pity even of a Roman crowd for his 
victims. 

Such a passage as the above, written by Tacitus 
soon after a.d. 100, is somewhat disconcerting to our 
authors. Professor Smith, proceeding on his usual 
innocent assumption that the whole of the ancient 
literature. Christian and profane, of this epoch lies 
before him, instead of a scanty debris of it, votes it 
to be a forgery. Why ? Because Melito, Bishop of 
Sardis about 170 a.d., is the first writer who alludes 
to it in a fragment of an apology addressed to a 
Eoman Emperor. As if there were not five hundred 
striking episodes narrated by Tacitus, yet never 
mentioned by any subsequent writer at all. Would 
Mr. Smith on that account dispute their authenticity ? 
It is only because this episode concerns Christianity 
and gets in the way of his theories, that he finds it 
necessary to cut it out of the text. You can prove 
anything if you cook your evidence, and the wanton 



EXTBENAL EVIDENCE 161 

mutilation of texts which no critical historian has 
ever called in question is a flagrant form of such 
cookery. In the hands of these writers facts are 
made to fit theory, not theory to fit facts. 

I hardly need add that the narrative of Tacitus is J/^'™^"^"/^ 
frank, straightforward, and in keeping with all we agrees 
know or can infer in regard to Christianity in that 1^'^^^^^^ 
epoch. Mr. E. G. Hardy, in his valuable hook 
Christianity and the Roman Government (London, 
1894, p. 70), has pointed out that "the mode of 
punishment was that prescribed for those convicted 
of magic," and that Suetonius uses the term malefica 
of the new religion — a term which has this special 
sense. Magicians, moreover, in the code of Justinian, 
which here as often reflects a much earlier age, are 
declared to be " enemies of the human race." Nor 
is it true that Nero's persecution as recorded in 
Tacitus is mentioned by no writer before Melito. It 
is practically certain that Clement, writing about 
A.D. 95, refers to it. He records that a ttoXu TrXijfloe, 
or vast multitude of Christians, the ingens multitudo 
of Tacitus, perished in connection with the martyrdom 
of Peter and Paul. He speaks of the manifold insults 
and torments of men, the terrible and unholy out- 
rages upon women, in terms that answer exactly to 
the two phrases of Tacitus : pereuntibus addita ludibria 
and quaesitissimae poenae. Women, he implies, were, 
" like Dirce, fastened on the horns of bulls, or, after 
figuring as Danaides in the arena, were exposed to Drews on 
the attacks of wild beasts " (Hardy, op. cit., p. 72). ?°|f °'f 
However, Drews is not content with merely ousting tions of 
the passage from Tacitus, but undertakes to explain ^^^''^^ 
to his readers how it got there. It was, he conjec- 
tures, made up out of a similar passage read in the 

M 



162 BXTEENAL EVIDENCE 

Chronicle of Sulpicius Severus (written about 407) by 
some clever forger, probably Poggio, who smuggled 
it into the text of Tacitus, " a writer whose text is 
full of interpolations." It is hardly necessary to 
inform an educated reader, firstly, that the text of 
Tacitus is recognized by all competent Latin scholars 
to be remarkably free from interpolations ; secondly, 
that Severus merely abridged his account of Nero's 
persecution from the narrative he found in Tacitus, 
an author whom he frequently copied and imitated ; 
thirdly, that Poggio, the supposed interpolator, lived 
in the fifteenth century, whereas our oldest MS. of 
this part of Tacitus is of the eleventh century ; it is 
now in the Laurentian Library. I should advise Dr. 
Drews to stick to his javelin-man story, and not to 
venture on incursions into the field of classical 
philology. 
Pliny's Having dispatched Josephus and Tacitus, and 

Trajin" Pointed over their pages in capitals the titles The 
Silence of Josephus and The Silence of Tacitus, these 
authors, needless to say, have no difficulty with Pliny 
and Suetonius. The former, in his letter (No. 96) to 
Trajan, gives some particulars of the Christians of 
Bithynia, probably obtained from renegades. They 
asserted that the gist of their offence or error was 
that they were accustomed on a regularly recurring 
day to meet before dawn, and repeat in alternating 
chant among themselves a hymn to Christ as to a 
God ; they also bound themselves by a holy oath not 
to commit any crime, neither theft, nor brigandage, 
nor adultery, and not to betray their word or deny 
a deposit when it was demanded. After this rite was 
over they had had the custom to break up their 
meeting, and to come together afresh later in the 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE 163 

day to partake of a meal, which, however, was of an 
ordinary and innocent kind. 

In this repast we recognize the early eucharist at 
which Christians were commonly accused of devour- 
ing human flesh, as the Jews are accused by besotted 
fanatics of doing in Kussia to-day, and by Mr. 
Robertson in ancient Jerusalem. Hence Pliny's 
proviso that the food they partook of was ordinary 
and innocent. The passage also shows that this 
eucharistic meal was not the earliest rite of the day, 
like the fasting communion of the modern Ritualist, 
but was held later in the day. Lastly, the qualifica- 
tion that they sang hymns to Christ as to a God, 
though to Pliny it conveyed no more than the phrase 
" as if to Apollo," or " as if to Aesculapius," clearly 
signifies that the person so honoured was or had 
been a human being. Had he been a Sun-god 
Saviour, the phrase would be hopelessly inept. This 
letter and Trajan's answer to it were penned about 

110 A.D. 

Of this letter Professor W. B. Smith writes (p. 252) 
that in it " there is no implication, not even the 
slightest, touching the purely human reality of the 
Christ or Jesus." Let us suppose the letter had 
referred to the cult of Augustus Caesar, and that we 
read in it of people who, by way of honouring his 
memory, met on certain days and sang a hymn to 
Augustus quasi deo, "as to a God." We know that 
the members of a college of Augustals did so meet in 
most cities of the Roman Empire. Well, would Mr. 
Smith contend in such a case that the letter carried 
no implication, not even the slightest, touching the 
purely human reality of the Augustus or Caesar ? Of 
course he would not. If this letter were the sole 



164 



BXTEENAL EVIDENCE 



Evidence 
of 

Suetonius 



record in existence of early Christianity, we might 
perhaps hesitate about its implications ; but it is in 
the characteristic Latin which no one, so far as we 
know, ever wrote, except the younger Pliny, and is 
accompanied by Trajan's answer, couched in an 
equally characteristic style. It is, moreover, but one 
link in a long chain, which as a whole attests and 
presupposes the reality of Jesus. Mr. Smith, how- 
ever, does not seem quite sure of his ground, for in 
the next sentence he hints that after all Pliny's letter 
is not genuine. These writers are not the first to 
whom this letter has proved a pons asinorum. Semler 
began the attack on its genuineness in 1784 ; and 
others, who desired to eliminate all references to 
Christianity in early heathen writers, have, as J. B. 
Lightfoot has remarked {Apostolic Fathers, Pt. II, 
vol. i, p. 55), followed in his wake. Their objections 
do not merit serious refutation. 

There remains Suetonius, who in ch. xxv of his 
life of Claudius speaks of Messianic disturbances at 
Eome impulsore Chresto. Claudius reigned from 
41-54, and the passage may possibly be an echo of 
the conflict, clearly delineated in Acts and Paulines 
between the Jews and the followers of the new 
Messiah.^ Itacism or interchange of "e" and " i " being 
the commonest of corruptions in Greek and Latin 
MSS., we may fairly conjecture Christo in the source 
used by Suetonius, who wrote about the year 120. 
Christo, which means Messiah, is intelligible in rela- 
tion to Jews, but not Chresto ; and the two words were 

' So in Acts xviii, 12, we read of faction fights in Corinth between the 
Jews and the followers of Jesus the Messiah ; Gallio, the proconsul of 
Achaia, who cared for none of the matters at issue between them, is 
a well-known personage, and an inscription has lately been dis- 
covered dating his tenure of Achaia in a.d. 52. 



EXTEENAL EVIDENCE 165 

identical in pronunciation. Drews of course upholds 
Chresto, and in Tacitus would substitute for Christiani 
Chrestiani ; for this there is indeed manuscript 
support, but it is gratuitous to argue as he does that 
the allusion is to Serapis or Osiris, who were called 
Chrestos " the good " by their votaries. He does not 
condescend to adduce any evidence to show that in 
that age or any other Chrestos, used absolutely, 
signified Osiris or Serapis ; and there is no reason to 
suppose it ever had such a significance. He is on 
still more precarious ground when he surmises that 
Nero's victims at Rome were not followers of Christ, 
but of Serapis, and were called Chrestiani by the mob 
ironically, because of their vices. Here we begin to 
suspect that he is joking. Why should worshippers 
of Serapis have been regarded as specially vicious by 
the Roman mob ? Jews and Christians were no 
doubt detested, because they could not join in any 
popular festivities or thanksgivings. But there was 
nothing to prevent votaries of Serapis or Osiris from 
doing so, nor is there any record of their being 
unpopular as a class. 

In his life of Nero, Suetonius, amid a number of 
brief notices, apparently taken from some annalistic 
work, includes the following : " The Christians were 
visited with condign punishments — a race of men pro- 
fessing a new and malefic superstition." On this 
passage I have commented above (p. 161). 

Characteristically enough. Dr. Drews assumes, with- Origin of 
out a shadow of argument, that the famous text in *ciir^s™^ 
Acts which says that the followers of Jesus were tlan" 
first called Christians in Antioch is an interpolation. 
It stands in the way of his new thesis that the Roman 
people called the followers of Serapis — who was 



166 EXTBENAL EVIDENCE 

Chrestos or " good " — Chrestiani, because they were 
precisely the contrary.^ Tacitus does not say that 
Nero's victims were so called because of their vices. 
That is a gloss put on the text by Drews. We only 
learn (a) that they were hated by the mob for their 
vices, and (6) that the mob at that time called them 
Chrestiani. His use of the imperfect tense appellabat 
indicates that in his own day the same sect had come 
to be known under their proper appellation as Chris- 
tiani. In a.d. 64, he implies, a Roman mob knew no 
better. 



' Tacitus very likely wrote Chrestiani. He says the mob called 
them such, but adds that the author of the name was Christ, so 
implying that Christianus was the true form, and Chrestianus a popular 
malformation thereof. The Eoman mob would be likely to deform a 
name they did not understand, just as a jack-tar turns Bellerophon 
into Billy Ruffian. Chrestos was a common name among oriental 
slaves, and a Roman mob would naturally assume that Christos, 
which they could not understand, was a form of it. 



Chaptee VI 

THE ART OP CRITICISM 

Let us pause here and try to frame some ideas of Eepudia- 
the methods of this new school which denies that Jesus t^e 
ever lived : — partisans 

Firstly, they are all agreed that the method they historicity, 
would apply to all other figures in ancient history — for «* ^^^^\'f 
example, to Apollonius — shall not be used in connec- historical 
tion with Jesus. They carelessly deride " the attempt method 
of historical theologians to reach the historical 
nucleus of the Gospels by purely philological means" 
(The Witnesses, p. 129). " The process," writes Mr. 
Robertson, " of testing the Synoptic Gospels down to 

an apparent nucleus of primitive narrative " " this 

new position is one of retreat, and is not permanently 
tenable" (Christianity and Mythology, p. 284). 

If this be so, we had better abolish our chairs of 
history at the universities, and give up teaching it in 
the schools ; for, in the absence of the camera and 
gramophone, this method is the only one we can use. 
When a Mommsen sets Polybius's, Livy's, and 
Plutarch's lives of Hannibal side by side and " tests 
them down to an apparent nucleus of primitive narra- 
tive," does Mr. Robertson take him as a text for a 
disquisition on " the psychological Resistance to 
Evidence " ? If not, why does he forbid us to take 
the score or so of independent memories and records 
of the career of Jesus which we have in ancient litera- 

167 



New 

Testament 



168 THE AET OP CEITICISM 

ture between the years a.d. 50 and 120, and to try to 
sift them down ? Why, without any evidence, should 
we rush to the conclusion that the figure on whom 
they jointly converge was a Sun-god, solar myth, or 
vegetation sprite ? 

Secondly, we may note how this disinclination to 
literature sift sources and test documents prompts them to 
Uoe^""' ^^^^ ^'"' ^loG sources and documents which arose 
separately and in succession. Yet it is not simple 
laziness which dictates to them this short and easy 
method of dealing with ancient documents. Bather 
they have inherited it from the old-fashioned orthodox 
teachers of a hundred years ago, who, convinced of 
the verbal inspiration of the Bible, forbade us to 
estimate one passage as evidence more highly than 
another. All the verses of the Bible were on a level, 
as also all the incidents, and to argue that one event 
might have happened, but not another, was rank 
blasphemy. All were equally certain, for inspiration 
is not given by measure. Their mantle has fallen on 
Mr. Eobertson and his friends. All or none is their 
method; but, whereas all was equally certain, now 
all is equally myth. " A document," says (p. 159) 
the excellent work by MM. Langlois and Seignobos 
which I cited above, 

(still more a literary work) is not all of a piece ; it 
is composed of a great number of independent state- 
ments, any one of which may be intentionally or un- 
intentionally false, while the others are bond fide and 

accurate It is not, therefore, enough to examine a 

document as a whole ; each of the statements in it 
must be examined separately ; criticism is impossible 
without analysis. 

We have beautiful examples of such mixed criticism 
and analysis in the commentaries on the Synoptics of 



THE ART OF CRITICISM 169 

Wellhausen and Loisy, both of them Freethinkers in 
the best sense of the word. 

I have given several minor examples of the incapacity 
obstinacy with which the three writers I am criticizing school to 
shut their eyes to the gradual evolution of Christian "ider- 
ideas ; they exhibit the same perversity in respect of evolution 
the great development of Christological thought already °f Claris- 
traceable in the New Testament. 

Paul conceived of Jesus as a Jewish teacher elevated 
through his death and resurrection to the position of 
Messiah and Son of God. On earth he is still a merely 
human being, born naturally, and subject to the law 
— a weak man of flesh. Eaised from the dead by the 
energy of the Spirit, he becomes future judge of man- 
kind, and his gospel transcends all distinctions of Jew 
and Gentile, bondsman or free. In Mark he is still 
merely human ; he is the son of Joseph and Mary, 
born and bred like their other sons and daughters. 
As a man he comes to John the Baptist, like others, to 
confess and repent of his sins, and wash them away in 
Jordan's holy stream. Not till then does the descent 
of the Spirit on him, as he goes up from the Jordan, 
confer a Messiahship on him, which his followers only 
recognize later on. Astounding miracles and prodigies, 
however, are already credited to him in this our earliest 
Gospel. In the non-Marcan document, or Q, so far as 
we can reconstruct it, he has become Messiah through 
baptism (supposing this section to have belonged to 
Q, and not to some other document used by Luke and 
Matthew) ; but few or no miracles^ are as yet credited 

' Mr. Bobertson recognizes (p. 124), though without realizing how 
much it damages his theory, that the miracles of the Gospels are 
" visibly unknown to the Paulinists " — presumably the early churches 
addressed by Paul in his Epistle. Do we not here get a glimpse of 
an early stage of the story of Jesus before it was overlaid with 



170 THE AET OF CEITICISM 

to him, and the document contained little except his 
teaching. His death has none of the importance 
assigned to it by Paul, and is not mentioned ; his 
resurrection does not seem to have been heard of by 
the author of this document. In Matthew and Luke 
the figure before us is much the same as in Mark; 
but human traits, such as his mother's distrust of his 
mission, are effaced. We hear no more of his inability 
to heal those who did not believe in him, and we get 
in their early chapters hints of his miraculous birth. 
In John there is, indeed, no hint of such birth ; but, 
on the other hand, the entire Gospel is here rewritten 
to suit a new conception of him as the divine, eternal 
Logos. Demonology tales are ruled out. His role as 
a Jewish Messiah, faithful to the law, has finally 
retired into the background, together with that tense 
expectation of the end of the world, of the final judg- 
ment and installation in Palestine of a renovated 
kingdom of David, which inspires the teaching and 
parables of the Synoptic Gospels, just as it inspired 
Philo, and the Apocalypse of the Fourth Esdras and 
other contemporary Jewish apocrypha, 
especially Now, in Mr. W. B. Smith's works this development 
tion°with° of doctrine about Jesus, this succession of phases, is 
the legend not Only reversed, but, with singular perversity, turned 
Birth!^™ upside down. Similarly, Mr. Eobertson and Dr. Drews, 
in order to secure a favourable reception for their hypo- 
thesis that Jesus was a Sun-god, insist in the teeth of 
the evidence that the belief in the Virgin Birth was 
part and parcel of the earliest tradition. As a matter 



miracles ? Yet Mr. Eobertson, in defiance of logic, argues that the 
absence of miraculous tales of Jesus in the Paulines confirms what he 
calls " the mythological argument." 



THE AET OP CEITICISM 171 

of fact, it was comparatively late, as the heortology or 
history of the feasts of the Church shows. Of specially 
Christian feasts, the first was the Sunday, which com- 
memorated every week the Resurrection, and the hope 
of the Parousia, or Second Coming. The next was the 
Epiphany, on January 6, commemorative of the bap- 
tism when the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus and 
conferred Messiahship. 

This feast we cannot trace before the year 125 or 
150, and then only among Basilidians ; among 
Catholics hardly before 300. Just as the story of 
the Virgin Birth was the latest addition to evangelical 
tradition, so it was the latest of the dominical feasts ; 
arid not till 354 did it obtain separate recognition in 
Eome on December 25. Of the feast of the Annuncia- 
tion and of the other feasts of the Virgin we first hear 
in the sixth and succeeding centuries. From this 
outline we can realize at how late a period the legend 
of the Virgin Birth influenced the mind of the Church 
at large ; yet Mr. Eobertson, to smooth the way for 
his " mythic " theory, pretends that it was the earliest 
of all Christian beliefs, and without a tittle of evidence 
invents a pre-Christian Saviour- Sun-god Joshua, born 
of a virgin, Miriam. The whole monstrous conception 
is a preposterous coinage of his brain, a figment un- 
known to anyone before himself and bristling with 
impossibilities. Witness the following passage (p. 284 
of Christianity and Mythology), containing nearly as 
many baseless fancies as it contains words : — 

The one tenable historic hypothesis left to us at 
this stage is that of a preliminary Jesus " b.c," a 
vague cult-founder such as the Jesus ben Pandira 
of the Talmud, put to death for (perhaps anti-Judaic) 
teachings now lost ; round whose movement there 



172 



THE AET OF CEITICISM 



and in 
connec- 
tion with 
Schmie- 
del's 
" PUlars " 



might have gradually clustered the survivals of an 
ancient solar or other worship of a Babe Joshua son of 
Miriam. 

Such is the gist of the speculations of Messrs. Drews 
and Eobertson, as far removed from truth and reality 
as the Athanasian Creed and from sane criticism as the 
truculent buffooneries of the Futurists from genuine art. 

We have more than once criticized this tendency of 
Mr. Eobertson to insist on the primitiveness of the 
Virgin Birth legend. He urges it throughout his 
volume, although here and there he seems to see 
the truth, as, e.g., on p. 189, where he remarks that 
" only the late Third Gospel tells the story " of Mary 
and Joseph going to Bethlehem to be taxed, and " that 
the narrative in Matthew " was " added late to the 
original composition, which obviously began at what 
is now the third chapter." If the legend was part of 
the earliest tradition, why does it figure for the first 
time in the late Third Gospel and in a late addition 
to the first ? In another passage he assures us that 
chapters i and ii of Luke are " a late fabulous intro- 
duction." Clearly, his view is that, just in proportion 
as any part of the Gospels is late, the tradition it con- 
tains must be early ; and he it is who talks about " the 
methodless subjectivism " of Dr. Pfleiderer, who, he 
says, " like Matthew Arnold, accepts what he likes" 
(p. 450). 

The same inability to distinguish what is early from 
what is late is shown by Mr. Eobertson in his criticism 
of Dr. Schmiedel's " pillars " — i.e., the nine Gospel 
texts (seven of them in Mark) — " which cannot have 
been invented by believers in the godhood of Jesus, 
since they implicitly negate that godhood." Of these, 
one is Mark x, VJ ff., where Jesus uses — to one who 



THE AET OF CRITICISM 173 

had thrown himself at his feet with the words : " Good 
teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" (i.e., 
life in the kingdom to come) — the answer : " Why 
callest thou me good ? No one is good, save one — to 
wit, God." Here many ancient sources intensify 
Jesus's refusal of a predicate which is God's alone ; 
for they run : " Call thou me not good." This 
apart, the Second and Third Gospels may be said 
to agree in reading, "Good master," and, "Why 
callest thou me good ? " 

In Matthew, however (xix, 16), we read as follows : 
" Behold, one came to him and said : Master, what 
good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life ? 
And he said unto him, Why askest thou me con- 
cerning that which is good? One there is who is 
good," etc. 

Now, it is a result of criticism universally accepted 
to-day that Matthew and Luke compiled their Gospels 
with Mark before them, and that any reading in which 
either of them agrees with Mark must be more original 
than the discrepant reading of a third. Here Matthew 
is the discrepant witness, and he has remodelled the 
text of Mark to suit the teaching which had estab- 
lished itself in the Church about a.d. 100 that Jesus 
was without sin. He accordingly makes Jesus reply 
as a Greek sophist might reply, and not as a Jewish 
rabbi; and, by omitting the predicate "good" before 
teacher, he turns the words, " One there is who is 
good," into nonsense. By adding it before " thing" 
he creates additional nonsense ; for how could any but 
a good action merit eternal life ? The epithet is here 
superfluous. Even then, if we were not sure on other 
grounds that the Marcan story is the only source of 
the Matthaean deformed text, we could be sure that it 



174 THE AET OP CEITICISM 

was, because in Mark we have simplicity and good 
sense, whereas in Matthew we have neither. Mr. 
Kobertson, on an earlier page, has, indeed, done lip- 
service to the truth that Mark presents us with the 
earliest form of evangelical tradition ; but here he 
betrays the fact that he has not really understood the 
position, nor grasped the grounds (set forth by me in 
Myth, Magic, and Morals) on which it rests. For he 
is ready to sacrifice it the moment it makes havoc of 
his " mythological " argument, and writes (p. 443) : 
" On the score of simple likelihood, which has the 
stronger claim ? Surely the original text in Matthew." 
Even if Matthew, Mark, and Luke were rival and 
independent texts, instead of the first and third being, 
as they demonstrably are, copies and paraphrases of 
Mark, the best — if not the only — criterion of originality 
would be such an agreement of two of them as Mark 
and Luke here present against Matthew. Mr. 
Robertson, with entire ignoratio elenchi, urges in 
favour of the originality of Matthew's variant the 
circumstance that the oldest MS. sources of that 
Gospel reproduce it. How could they fail to do so, 
supposing it to he due to the redactor or editor of 
Mark, who was traditionally, but falsely, identified 
with the apostle Matthew ? If the reading of Mark 
be not original, how came Luke to copy it from him ? 
The most obvious critical considerations are wasted 
on Mr. Robertson and his friends. 
Schmiedel ^^- Schmiedel again draws attention to the narra- 
on the tive of how Jesus, at the beginning of his ministry, 
oiMary in 'was declared by his own household to be out of his 
her son senses, and of how, in consequence, his mother and 
brethren followed him in order to put him under 
restraint. The story offended the first and third 



THE ART OF CEITICISM 175 

evaBgelists, and they partly omit it, partly obscure 
its drift. The fourth evangelist limits the disbelief 
to the brethren of Jesus. The whole narrative is in 
flagrant antagonism to the Birth stories in the early 
chapters of Matthew and Luke, and to the whole 
subsequent drift of Church tradition. Being gifted 
with common sense, Sehmiedel argues that it must be 
true, because it could never have been invented. It, 
anyhow, makes for the historicity of Jesus. "What 
has Mr. Robertson to say about it? He writes 
(p. 443): "Why should such a conception be more 
alien to Christian consciousness than, say, the story 
of the trial, scourging, and crucifixion?" Here he 
ignores the point at issue. In Christian tradition, 
whether early or late, it was not the mother and 
brethren of Jesus who tried and scourged and 
crucified him, but inimical Jews and pagans. The 
latter are at no time related to have received an 
announcement of his birth from an angel, as his 
mother was presently believed to have done. We 
have, therefore, every reason for averring that the 
conception or idea of his being flouted by his own 
mother and brethren was a thousand times more 
alien to Christian consciousness — at least, any time 
after a.d. 100 — thsm that of his being flouted by 
a Sadducean priesthood and by Boman governors. 
Once the legend of the Virgin Birth had grown up, 
such a story could not have been either thought of or 
committed to writing in a Grospel. It is read in 
Mark, and must be what we call a bed-rock tradition. 
If Mr. Eobertson cannot see that, he is hopeless. Did 
he not admit (p. 443) that it is "certainly an odd 
text," so revealing his inmost misgivings about it, 
we should think him so. 



him 



176 THE AET OF CEITICISM 

''®!"f ^1 J The same vice of mixing up different phases of the 
not deified „, . , . ... , ° . ,„ . , , ^. . . , 

in the Christian rehgion shows itself in the insistence of 

earhest ^j^jg ggijool of critic that it was from the first a cult 
docu- 
ments, nor of a deified Jesus. Thus Mr. Smith writes {Ecce 

reveafa ^^"«) ^^ ^O^O^^ (P- 6) =" 

'cult "of We affirm that the worship of the one God under 

"™ the name, aspect, or person of the Jesus, the Saviour, 

was the primitive and indefectible essence of the 

primitive teaching and propaganda. 

On the contrary, in the two basal documents, Mark 
and Q, no such worship is discernible. Jesus first 
comes on the scene as the humble son of Joseph and 
Mary to repent of his sins and purge them away in 
Baptism ; he next takes up the preaching of the 
imprisoned John, which was merely that Jews should 
repent of their sins because the kingdom of God, 
involving a dissolution of the existing social and 
political order, was at hand. This was no divine 
role, and he is represented not as God, but only as 
the servant of God ; for such in the Aramaic dialect 
of that age was the connotation of the title " Son of 
God." In Mark there is no sign of his deification, 
not even in the transfiguration scene ; for in that he 
is merely the human Messiah attended by Elias and 
Moses. From a hundred early indicia we know that 
in the Semitic-speaking churches of the East he 
remained a human figure for centuries ; and the 
Syrian Father Aphraat, as late as 336 in Persia, is 
careful to explain in his homilies that Jesus was only 
divine as Moses was, or as human kings are. It was 
not till the religion was diffused in a pagan medium 
in which gods had children by mortal women that 
the gross deification of Jesus emerged. The purport 
of these basal documents, moreover, is not to deify 



THE AET OF CRITICISM 177 

Jesus, but to establish as against the Jews that he 
■was their promised Messiah and the central figure of 
the Messianic kingdom he preached. That figure, 
however, was never identified with Jehovah, but was 
only Jehovah's servant, anointed king and judge of 
Israel, restorer of Israel's damaged fortunes, fulfiller 
of her political ideals and hopes. Mr. Smith argues 
that Jesus was deified from the first because his name 
was so often invoked in exorcisms. He even makes 
the suggestion (p. 17) that the initial letter J of 
Jesus " must have powerfully suggested Jehovah to 
the Jewish consciousness." There is no evidence, 
and less likelihood, of any such thing. The name of 
Jesus was during his lifetime invoked against demons 
by exorcists who rejected his message ; just as they 
used the names of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, so 
they were ready to exploit his powerful name ; but 
neither Jews nor Christians ever confounded with 
Jehovah the names or personalities they thus invoked ; 
any Jew in virtue of his birth and breeding would 
have regarded such a confusion of a msin with his God 
as flat blasphemy. 

Messrs. Robertson and Drews similarly insist that '^"fship 

, . , l•/^J°''' slain 

Jesus was from the first worshipped as a slam Crod. God no 
In the Gospel documents there is no sign of anything ?"■'. "f ">e. 
of the sort. It was Paul who first diffused the idea chris- 
that the crucified Jesus was a victim slain for the 'i'^°i*J 
redemption of human sins. We already have Philo 
proclaiming that the just man is the ransom of the 
many, so that there is no need to go to pagan circles, 
no need to go outside the pale of Greek Jews, of 
whom Paul was one, for the origin of the idea. He 
probably found it even in the teaching of Gamaliel, 
in which he was brought up. Mark asks no more of 

N 



178 THE AET OF CEITICISM 

his readers than to attribute the Messiahship — a 
thoroughly human role — to his hero, Jesus of Nazareth. 
Nor does Matthew, who seeks at every turn to prove 
that the actions of Jesus reported by Mark were 
those which, according to the old prophets, a Messiah 
might be expected to perform. How can writers who 
end their record of Jesus by telling us how in the 
moment of death he cried, " My God, my God, why 
hast thou forsaken me?" realizing no doubt that all 
his expectations of the advent of God's kingdom 
were frustrated and set at naught ; how, I say, can 
such writers have believed that Jesus was Jehovah ? 
The idea is monstrous. The truth is these writers 
transport back into the first age of Christianity the 
ideas and beliefs of developed Catholicism, and are 
resolved that the first shall be last and the last first. 
They have no perspective, and no capacity for under- 
standing the successive phases through which a 
primitive Messianism, at first thoroughly mono- 
theistic and exclusively Jewish in outlook and ideals, 
gradually evolved itself, with the help of the Logos 
teaching, into the Athanasian cult of an eternal and 
consubstantial Son of God. 
the"oom- Thirdly, these writers abuse the comparative 
parative method. Applied discreetly and rationally, this 
&is school method helps us to trace myths and beliefs back to 
of writers their homes and earlier forms. Thus M. Emmanuel 
Cosquin (in Romania; Paris, 1912) takes the story of 
the cat and the candle, and traces out its ramifications 
in the mediaeval literature and modern folklore of 
Europe, and outside Europe, in the legends of the 
Pendjab, of Cashmir, Bengal, Ceylon, Tibet, Tunisia, 
Annam, and elsewhere. But the theme is always 
sufficiently like itself to be really recognizable in the 



THE AET OF CEITICISM 179 

various folklore frames in which it is found encased. 
The old philologists saw in the most superficial 
resemblance of sound a reason for connecting words 
in different languages. They never asked themselves 
how a word got out of Hebrew, say, into Greek, or 
out of Greek into Mexican. Volumes were filled with 
these haphazard etymologies, and the idea of the 
classification of languages into great connected 
families only slowly made its way among us in the 
last century. I have pointed out that in regard to 
names Messrs. Drews and Robertson are still in this 
prephilological stage of inquiry ; as regards myths or 
stories of incident, they are wholly immersed in it. 
They never trouble themselves to make sure that the 
stories they connect bear any real resemblance to one anything 
another. For example, what have the Zodiacal signs on to any- 
and the Apostles of Jesus in common except the ma°fe"° 
number twelve ? As if number was not the most tow 
superficial of attributes, the least characteristic and ^'^^^ ^' 
essential. The scene of the Gospel is laid in Judaea, 
where from remote antiquity the Jews had classed 
themselves in twelve tribes. Is it not more likely 
that this suggested the twelve missionaries sent out 
by Jesus to announce the coming kingdom than the 
twelve signs of the Zodiac ? Even if the story of the 
Twelve be legendary, need we go outside Judaism for 
our explanation of its origin ? 

What, again, have the three Maries in common with 
the Greek Moirai except the number three and a delu- 
sive community of sound ? Yet Mr. Robertson insists 
that the three Maries at the tomb of Jesus were 
suggested by the Moirai, because these, " as goddesses 
of birth and death, naturally figured in many artistic 
presentations of religious death scenes." As a matter 



180 



THE AET OF CEITICISM 



and for- 
get the 
innate 
hostility 
of Jews to 
Paganiam 



of fact, the representation of the Parcae or Fates in 
connection with death is rare except on Roman sarco- 
phagi, mostly of later date than the Gospel story. 
And when they are so found, they represent, not 
women bringing spices for the corpse or mourning for 
the dead, but the forces, often thought of as blind 
and therefore represented as veiled, which govern the 
events of the world, including birth, life and death. 
There was, therefore, nothing in the Moirai to suggest 
the three Maries at the tomb ; nor is it credible that 
the Hebrew Christists, given as they must have been 
to monotheism and detesting all statuary, pagan or 
other, would have chosen their literary motives from 
such a source. Where could they see such statuary 
in or about Jerusalem ? It is notorious that the very 
presence of a symbolic eagle used as a military 
standard was enough to create an emeute in Jerusalem. 
The scheme of the emperor Caligula or Cains to set up 
his statue in Jerusalem in 39-40 a.d. provoked a 
movement of revolt throughout Palestine, with which 
the Jews of Egypt and elsewhere were in full sympathy. 
A deputation headed by Philo of Alexandria went to 
Borne to supplicate the emperor not to goad the entire 
race to frenzy. In the magnificent statues which 
surrounded him on the Parthenon hill, Paul could see 
nothing but idols, monuments of an age of supersti- 
tion and ignorance which God had mercifully over- 
looked.^ The hostility of the Jews to all pagan art 

1 It is tme that this is fiom a speech ptit into Paul's month by the 
author of Acts ; bat Paal hiioaeU is no less emphatic in Romans i, 23, 
where of the Greeks he writes that, " thongh they knew God, they 

glorified him not as God Professing themselves wise, they were 

tnmed into fbola, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God for 
the likeness of an image of a corruptible man." Snch were the feel- 
ings excited in Panl by a statue of Pheidias ; how difierent from those 
it roused in his contemporary Dion, who wrote as follows of it : 



THE ABT OF CEinCISM 1^1 

ar.d scnlptare was as great a.? that of Mohammedans 
to-day. Yet Llr. Bobertson asks uh to believe (p. I; 27, 
that the Gospel myths, as he a-^om^ them to be, are 
" evolved from scenes in pagan art." On the top of 
that we afterwards learn from him that is was th^ 
Jewish high priest with legalistic- leanings that 
pre-.i-ie^i over the fShr%gt.isshi or JesuigU. Imagine 
each a high priest's feelings when he beheld his 
"secret society" evolving their system mider ench 
an inspiration as ilr. Eobertson outlines in the 
following canons of criticism : — 

A= we have ^en and shall see tfazon^ioat this in- 
vestigation, the Christian sygtem v. a TjaXfAsmoiA. of a 
\ixa\AxfA snggestioas drawn from pagan art and litoal 
usage (p. 30a). 

Cbristism borrowed myths of all kinds from 
paganism (p. xii). 

the f.'aiiis: Christian legend, in its pr^ent 

tenalxLolog;.-, is demonstrably an adaptation of a mass 
of pre-Christian myths (p. 136). 

What a budget of mutually destructive paradoxes ; 
and to crown them all Mr. Bobertson claims in Lis 
introduction (p. xxii) that the method of his treatise is 

in geoCTal more "positive," less a priori, more obedient 
to scientific canons than that of the pcevions critics 

who have reached similar anti-traditionalist 

resnlts. It sabstitates an anthropological basis, in 
terms of the concrete phenomena of mythok^, for a 
pseado-pMlosophical presupposition. 

"Whoerer amcmg m/yrtal men is most utterly toil worn in spirit, 
baring drank Ae eop of manj sorrows and calamitieg, »faen be stands 
belaiettm ima<je most ntterly {orgE« all the KTrors and woes of this 
moztnl Kffe-" So Etrong was the prejudice of the (Suaeh (doe excln- 
sivety to its Jewidi tariff) against plastic or pcuxUd nt that Eosebins 
and Epiphar.: i? condemned pietires of Christ as late as tbe fourth 
eentory, whi^e tbe Eastern cbarc-nea, even to-day, forbid aaiaez of 
J«sns and of the S^ntg. Of the great gulf which separated Jew from 
Gentile on gacb points Mr. Eoberteon seems not to have the faintest 
notion. 



182 THE AET OF CEITICISM 

att nd'*''' Fourthly, it is essential to note the childish, all- 
hyper- embracing, and overwhelming credulity of these 
criticism •writers. To them applies in its full force the 
paragraph in which MM. Langlois and Seignobos 
describe the perils which beset hypercriticism (p. 131, 
op. cit.) : — 

The excess of criticism, just as much as the crudest 
ignorance, leads to error. It consists in the application 
of critical canons to cases outside their jurisdiction. It 
is related to criticism as logic-chopping is to logic. 
There are persons who scent enigmas everywhere, even 
where there are none. They take perfectly clear texts 
and subtilize on them till they make them doubtful, 
under the pretext of freeing them from imaginary 
corruptions. They discover traces of forgery in 
authentic documents. A strange state of mind ! By 
constantly guarding against the instinct of credulity 
they come to suspect everything. 

For these writers, in their anxiety to be original 
and new, see fit to discard every position that earlier 
historians, like Mommsen, Gibbon, Bury, Montefiore 
— not to mention Christian scholars — have accepted 
as beyond doubt. Their temper is that of the Bacon- 
Shakesperians ; and the plainest, simplest, most 
straightforward texts figure in their imaginations 
as a laborious series of charades, rebuses, and cryp- 
tograms. That Jesus never existed is not really 
the final conclusion of their researches, but an 
initial unproved assumption. In order to get rid of 
him, they feign, without any evidence of it, a Jewish 
secret society under the patronage of the Jewish 
High Priest, that existed in Jerusalem well down into 
the Christian era. This society kept up the worship 
of an old Palestinian and Ephraimitic Sun-god and 
Saviour, named Joshua, son of a virgin, Miriam. 
Where is the proof that such a god was ever heard of 



THE AET OF CEITICISM 18? 

in ancient Palestine, either early or late, or that such 
a cult ever existed ? There is none. It is the emptiest 
and wildest of hypotheses ; yet we are asked to accept 
it in place of the historicity of Jesus. What, again, do 
we know of secret societies in Jerusalem ? Josephus 
and Philo knew of none. For the Therapeutse, far 
from affecting secrecy, were anxious to diffuse their 
discipline and lore even among the Hellenes, while 
the Essenes had nothing secret save the names of the 
angels they invoked in spells. They were a well- 
known sect, and so numerous that a gate of Jerusalem 
was called the Essene Gate, because they so often 
came in and went forth by it. Were the Pharisees 
and Sadducees, the Scribes, or the Sicarii or zealots, 
secret sects? We know they were not. But is it 
likely that a sect composed in the main of Jews, and 
patronized, as Mr. Eobertson argues, by the High 
Priest, would have kept up in the very heart of 
monotheistic Judaism a cult of Sun-gods and 
Vegetation-spirits? Could they there have given 
themselves up to the study of pagan statuary, art, 
and ritual dramas? What possible connection is 
there between the naive picture of Hebrew Messian- 
ism we have in the Synoptic Gospels and the hurly- 
burly, the tagrag and bobtail of pagan mythologies 
which Mr. Robertson and his henchman Drews rake 
together pell-mell in their pretentious volumes ? How 
did all this paganism abut in a Messianic society which 
reverenced the Old Testament for its sacred scriptures, 
which for long frequented the Jewish Temple, took 
over the feasts and fasts of Judaism, modelled its 
prayers on those of the Synagogue, cherished in its 
eastern branches the practice of circumcision ? 

After hundreds of pages devoted to the task of 



184 THE ART OF CRITICISM 

^\ evaporating Jesus into a Solar or Vegetation-god, and 

Eobertson i, ,, - ii /^ i • 4. 

accepts the all the personages we meet in the Crospels into 
historicity zodiacal signs or pagan demigods, Mr. Robertson, as 
after all we have noticed above, finds himself, after all, con- 
fronted with the same personages in Paul's Epistles. 
There they are too real even for Mr. Robertson to 
dissipate them into cloud-forms, and too numerous to 
be cut out wholesale. He feels that, if all Paul's 
allusions to the crucified Jesus are to be got rid of 
as interpolations, then no Pauline Epistles will 
remain. He cuts out, indeed, all he can, but there 
is a residuum of reality. To identify Paul's Jesus 
with the Jesus of the Gospels is too humdrum and 
obvious a course for him. So common-sense and 
commonplace a scheme does not suit his subtle 
intelligence ; moreover, such an identification would 
upset the hundreds of pages in which he has proved 
that Jesus of Nazareth and all his accessories are 
literary symbols employed by the Jewish " Jesuists " 
to disguise their pagan art and myths. Accordingly, 
he asks us to believe that Paul's Jesus is a certain 
Jesus Ben Pandira, stoned to death a hundred years 
earlier. This Jesus is a vague figure fished up out of 
the Talmud ; but, on examination, we found Mr. 
Robertson's choice of him as an alias for Paul's 
Jesus to be most unfortunate, for competent Talmudic 
scholars are agreed that Jesus Ben Pandii-a in the 
Talmud was no other than Jesus of Nazareth in the 
Gospels. Jesus most unkindly insists on being in at 
his own death,^ in spite of all Mr. Robertson can say 
or do; and his house of cards is crowned with the 
discovery that the apostles whom Paul knew — not 

' I trust my readers wiU forgive my use of a fox-hunting phrase in 
so serious a context, but I cannot ttuiik of any other so apt. 



THE AET or CBITICISM '---I 

being identical with the Eign£ of the Zodiac, like ihose 
of the Grospels — were no other than the twelve apostles 
of the Jewish High Priest, and that they were the 
authors of the lately-discovered " T^uihing of the 
Apostles." He is very contemptaons for other early 
Christian books which affect apostolic anthorship in 
their titles, but falls a ready victim, to the relativelv 
late and anonymous editor of this " teaching," who to 
give it vogue entitled it " The Teaching of the Lord 
by the Twelve Apostles to the GentQeB." "The 
Jestiist sect. ' he writes (p. 3i3 . "founded on i: the ; 

J>idacfe«/ the Christian myth of the Twelve Apostles 
of Jesus." Everywhere else in his books he has 
argued that the " myth" in question vras founded on 
the signs of the Zodiac. "Why give up at the eleventh 
hour the astral explanation for an utterly different 
one ? I may add that in the body of the Didachi the 
Twelve are nowhere alluded to; that it must be a 
much later document than the Grospels and Paulines, 
since it quotes them in scores of passages ; and that 
the interpolation of the title, with a reference to the 
Twelve Apostles, was a literary trick scarcely older 
than the fourth century, long before which age 
the Pauline account of the resurrection was cited by 
a score of Christian writers. Lastly, we are fain 
to inquire of Mr. Robertson with whom he identifies 
" the Lord " of the above title — with the -Jewish High 
Priest, or with Jesus Ben Pandira,or with the Sun- God- 
Saviour Joshua. 

I have given many examples of the tendency of all S^^,?* 
these authors to condemn as an interpolation any text tians 
which contradicts their hypotheses. There is only 
one error worse than that of treating seriously docu- 
ments which are no documents at all. It is that of 



186 THE AET OF CEITICISM 

the man who cannot recognize documents when he 
has got them. It is well, of course, to weigh sources, 
and the critical investigation of authorship lies at the 
basis of all true history. But, as the authors above 
cited justly remark (p. 99) : — 

We must not abuse it. The extreme of distrust in 
these matters is almost as mischievous as the extreme 
of credulity. Pere Hardouin, who attributed the works 
of Virgil and Horace to medieval monks, was every 
whit as ridiculous as the victim of Vrain-Lucas. It is 
an abuse of the methods of this species of criticism to 
apply them, as has been done, indiscriminately, for the 
mere pleasure of it. The bunglers who have used this 
species of criticism to brand as spurious perfectly 
genuine documents, such as the writings of Hroswitba, 
the Ligurinus, and the bull unam sanctum, or to estab- 
lish imaginary filiations between certain annals, on the 
strength of superficial indications, would have dis- 
credited criticism before now, if that had been possible. 

It is unhappily easier to discredit criticism in the 
realm of ecclesiastical than of secular history ; and 
this school of writers are doing their best to harm the 
cause of true Rationalism. They only afford amuse- 
ment to the obscurantists of orthodoxy, and render 
doubly difficult the task of those who seek to win 
people over to a common-sense and historical 
envisagement, unencumbered by tradition and super- 
stition, of the problems of early Christianity. 
Professor Lastly, it is a fact deserving of notice that the 
inonothe- genesis of Christianity as these authors present it 
istic cult is much more mysterious and obscure than before. 
Their explanation needs explaining. "What, we must 
ask, was the motive and end in view of the adherents 
of the pre-Christian Jesus or Joshua in writing the 
Gospels and bringing down their God to earth, so 
humanizing in a story their divine myth ? Let Pro- 



THE AET OF CEITICISM 1S7 

fessor W. B. Smith speak: •' What was the essence, 
the central idea and active principle, of the cult 
itself '? " Here he means the cult of the pre-Christian 
Christ that invented the Llospels and diffused them on 
the mai'ket place. " To this latter," he continues, 
" we answer directly and immediately : It was a 
Protest c^ainst klolatrif ; it was a Cnmadr for mono- 
theism." 

And yet he cannot adduce a single text from the 
Gospels — not even from the Fourth — which betrays 
on the part of Jesus, their central figure, any such 
crusading spirit. Jesus everywhere assumes his 
hearers to be monotheists like himself — he speaks 
as a Jew to Jews — and perpetually reminds them of 
their Father in heaven. Thus Matt, vi, 8: "Your 
Father knoweth what things ye have need of "; 
Matt. V. 48 : " Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your 
heavenlj' Father is perfect."' 

The monotheism of those who stood around the 
teacher is ever taken for granted by the evangelists, 
and in all the precepts of Jesus not one can be adduced 
that is aimed at the sius of polytheism and idolatry. 
His message lies in a far different region. It is the 
immediate advent of the Messianic kingdom, and the 
need of repentance ere it come. Only when Paul 
undertakes to bear this message to pagans outside the 
pale of Judaism do we get teaching directed against 
idolatry : and in his Epistles sueh precepts have a 
second place, the first being reserved to the preaching 
of the coming kingdom and of the redemption of the 
world by the merits of the crucified and risen 
Messiah, the man Jejus. Most of Paul's letters read 
as if those for whom he wrot« them were already 
proselytes familiar with the Jewish scriptures. 



188 THE ART OF CRITICISM 

His great gugij fg j^^.^ Smith's fundamental assumption, and 

Oriental -,., ^ ■ i- ^iV, 

crypto- it IS baseless. On it he bases his next great nypo- 
gram thesis of " the primitive secrecy of the Jesus cult," 

which "was maintained in some measure for many 
years — for generations even" (p. 45). "Why," he 
asks, " was this Jesus cult originally secret, and 
expressed in such guarded parabolic terms as made it 
unintelligible to the multitude ? " The reason lay in 
the fact that " it was exactly to save the pagan multi- 
tude from idolatry that Jesus came into the world " 
(p. 38). 

Here the phrase " Jesus came into the world," like 
all else he did or suffered, is, of course, to be under- 
stood in a Pickwickian sense, for he never came into 
the world at all. The Gospels are not only a romance 
concocted by " such students of religion as the first 
Christians were " (p. 65), and inspired by their study 
of Plato,^ and of the best elements in ancient mytho- 
logy ; they are a romance throughout — an allegory of 
a secret pre-Christian Nazarene society and of its 
secret cult (p. 34). Of this society, he tells us, we 
know nothing ; esoterism and cult secrecy were its 
chief interests ; the " silence of the Christians about 
it was intentional,"^ and, except for the special revela- 
tion vouchsafed the other day to Professor W. B. 

' p. 48. After citing the rather problematic allusion to Plato 
(Eep. ii, 361 D) in the apology of Apollonius (o. 172), the just man 
shall be tortured, he shall be spat on, and, last of all, he shall be 
crucified. Harnaok has said that there is no other reference to this 
passage of Plato in old-Christian literature. "Why " asks Mr. Smith. 
"Because Christians were not familiar with it? Impossible. The silence 
of the Christians was intentional, and the reason is obvious. The 
passage was tell-tale. Similarly we are to understand their silence 
about the pre-Christian Nazarenes and many other lions that were 
safest when asleep." This is in the true vein of a Bacon- Shakespearian 
armed with his cypher. 

2 See note (1). 



THE AET OF CRITICISM 189 ♦ 

Smith, it would have remained for ever unknown, and 
Christianity for ever enigmatic. 

In accordance with this postulate of esoterism and 
cult secrecy among the pre-Christian Nazarenes, who 
subsequently revealed themselves to the world as the 
Christian Church, though even then they " maintained 
for generations the secrecy^ of their Jesus cult," the 
Gospels, as I said, are an allegory or a charade. Their 
priina facie meaning is never the true one, never more 
than symbolic of a moral and spiritual undersense 
such as old allegorists like Philo and Origen loved to 
discover in the Bible. Thus, as we saw above, when 
Jesus is reported to have cast out of the Jews who 
thronged around him devils of blindness, deafness, 
lameness, leprosy, death, what is really intended is 
that he argued pagans out of their polytheism. " It 
was spiritual maladies, and only spiritual, that he was 
healing " (p. 38). We ask of Mr. Smith, why was so 
much mystification necessary ? We are only told that 
" it was in the main a prudential measure, well enough 
justified, but intended to be only temporary" (p. 39). 
What exact risks they were to shun which the sect kept 
itself secret, and only spake in far-fetched allegory, 
Mr. Smith does not inform us. Is he, too, afraid of 
being regarded as a " tell-tale " (p. 48) ? 

As with the exorcisms, so with all else told of Professor 
Jesus. None of it really happened. As he never resolves all 

lived, so he never died. His human life and death ^e New 

11 I. ,1 ••,11, 1 , • Testament 

are an allegory of the spiritual cult and mysteries as sym- 

which the pre-Christian Nazarenes and their bolicand 
'■ allegoneal 

' Elsewhere Mr. Smith qualifies this position, p. 35 : "Of course, 
the cnlt was not intended to remain, and did not in fact remain, 
secret ; it was at length brought into the open^" But perhaps Mr. 
Smith is here alluding to his own revelation. 



190 THE AET 01 CEITICISM 

descendants, the Christians, so jealously and for so long 
guarded in silence. If he never lived, then he never 
taught, not even in parables. By consequence the 
entire record of his parables, still more of his having 
chosen the parable as his medium of instruction in 
order to veil his real meaning from his audience, is 
all moonshine. Here, as elsewhere, the Gospel text 
does not mean what it says, but is itself only a 
Nazarene parable conveying, or rather concealing, a 
Nazarene secret — what sort of secret no one, save 
Professor Smith, the self-appointed revealer of their 
mysterious lore, can tell, and he is silent on the point. 
On Mr. Smith's premisses, then, we cannot rely on 
the Gospels to inform us of anything historical, and, 
so far as we can follow him, we must, if we would 
discern through them the mind of their Nazarene 
authors, take them upside down. We must discern 
a pagan medium and homilies against polytheism in 
discourses addressed to monotheistic Jews who needed 
no warnings against idolatry ; we must also read the 
stories of Jesus healing paralytics and demoniacs as 
secret and disguised polemics against idolatry. 
Yetolaims, But here mark Professor Smith's inconsistency. 
^^rWm ^^y i^ ^^ ^^^^ ^^^^ ^^^ Nazarenes, and after them 
to treat it the earliest Christians, were a secret society with a 
toricai Secret cult? They must have been so, he argues, 
narrative because Jesus taught in parables. " The primitive 
esoterism," he tells us, " is admittedly present in 
Markiv, 11, 12, 33, 34." These verses begin thus: 
" And he said unto them, unto you is given the 
mystery of the kingdom of heaven : but unto them 
that are without, all things are done in parables." 

Now, Mr. Smith's postulate is that he — i.e., Jesus 
of Nazareth — never lived, and so never said anything 



THE AET OP CEITICISM 191 

to anyone. How, then, can he appeal to what he 
said to prove that there was a pre-Christian Jesus 
or Joshua sect, itself secret with a cult and ritual which 
its members were ever on their guard not to reveal ? 
Surely he drops here into two assumptions which he 
has discarded ah initio : first, that there is a core of 
real history in the Gospels ; and, second, that the 
Gospel can mean what it says, and that its Nazarene 
author is here not allegorizing, as he usually did. 

But even if we allow Mr. Smith to break with his His theory 

contra- 

premisses wherever he needs to do so m order to diets itself 
substantiate them, do these verses of Mark support 
his hypothesis of a sect which kept itself, its rites, 
and its teaching secret ? I admit that it was pretty 
successful when it veiled its anti-idolatrous teaching 
under the outward form of demonological anecdotes, 
and wrote Jews when it meant Pagans and Poly- 
theists. But in Mark iv, 34, we are told that " to 
his own disciples Jesus privately expounded all 
things " after he had with many parables spoken the 
word to such as " were able to hear it." It appears, 
then, that for all their love of secrecy, and in spite of 
all their precautions against " tell-tale " writing, the 
Nazarenes on occasions went out of their way, in 
their allegorical romance of their God Joshua, to 
inform all who may read it what their parables and 
allegories meant ; for in it Jesus sits down and 
expounds to the reader over some twenty-four verses 
(verses 10-34) the inner meaning of the parables 
which he had just addressed to the multitude. What 
on earth were the Nazarenes doing to publish a 
Gospel like this, and so let the cat out of the bag ? 
Instead of keeping their secret they were proclaiming 
it on the housetops. Again, if the Gospels are to 



192 THE AET OF CEITICISM 

such an extent merely allegorical, that we must not 
assume their authors to have believed that Jesus ever 
lived, how can we possibly rely on them for informa- 
tion about such an obscure matter as a secret and 
esoteric pre-Christian Nazarene sect? We can only 
be sure that the evangelists never under any circum- 
stances meant what they said ; yet Mr. Smith, in 
defiance of all his postulates, writes, p. 40, as follows : 
" On the basis, then, of this passage alone [i.e., 
Mark iv, 10-34] we may confidently affirm the 
primitive secrecy of the Jesus cult." Even if the 
passage rightly yielded the sense he tries to extort 
from it, how can we be sure that that sense is not, 
like the rest of the Gospel, an allegory of something 
else? 

The other passage of the Gospels, Matthew x, 26, 27, 

to which, with like inconsistency, Mr. Smith appeals 

by way of showing that the Nazarenes of set purpose 

hid their light under a bushel, does not bear the 

interpretation he puts on it. It runs thus : " Pear 

them not therefore : for naught is covered that shall 

not be revealed, and hidden that shall not be known. 

What I tell you in the darkness, speak ye on the 

housetops; and what ye hear in the ear, proclaim 

upon the housetops." 

Absence of The reasonable interpretation of the above is that 

abou™™ Jesus, being in possession, as he thought, of a special 

Jesus's understanding, perhaps revelation, of the true nature 

ing ^j ^^^ Messianic kingdom, and convinced of its near 

approach, instructed his immediate disciples in privacy 

concerning it in order that they might carry the 

message up and down the land to the children of 

Israel. He therefore exhorts them not to be silent 

from fear of the Jews, who accused him of being 



THE AET or CEITIOISM 193. 

possessed of a devil, somewhat as his own mother 
and brethren accused him of being an exalte and 
beside himself. No, they were to cast aside all 
apprehensions ; they must go, not to the supercilious 
Pharisees or to the comfortable priests who battened 
on the people, still less to Gentiles and Samaritans, 
who had no part in the promises made to Israel, but 
to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and they 
must preach as they went, saying, The kingdom 
of heaven is at hand. They were to heal the sick, 
raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils, and 
in general give freely the good tidings which freely 
they had received from their Master, and he from 
John the Baptist. If they so acted, discarding all 
timidity, then no human repression, no human time- 
serving, could prevent the spread of the good news. 
What was now hidden from the poor and ignorant 
among his compatriots would henceforth, thanks to 
the courage and devotedness of his emissaries, be 
made known to them ; what was now covered, be 
revealed. 

Such is the context of " this remarkable deliver- 
ance," as Mr. Smith terms it ; and nothing in all the 
New Testament savours less than it does of a secret 
cult of mysterious sectaries, waiting for Mr. Smith to 
manifest their arcana to us twenty centuries later. 
Here, as everywhere else in the New Testament, he has 
discovered a monstrous mare's nest ; has banished 
the only possible and obvious interpretation, in order 
to substitute a chimera of his own. 

Mr. Smith credits his hypothetical pre-Christian it was not 
Nazarenes with an ambition and anxiety to purge aga^i°g®t^* 
away the errors of mankind. The " essence, the paganism 
central idea, and active principle of the cult itself," 

o 



194 THE AET OF CEITICISM 

he tells us (p. 45), " was a protest against Idolatry, a 
crusade for monotheism." " The fact of the primitive 
worship of Jesus and the fact of the primitive mission 
to all the Gentiles are the two cardinal facts of Proto- 
Christianity " (p. xvii). Why on earth, then, in con- 
cocting that pronunciamento of their cult which we 
call the Gospels, did these Nazarenes represent the 
Jesus or Joshua God, even in allegory, as warning 
his disciples on no account to disseminate his cult 
among Gentiles and Samaritans, but only among 
Jews, who were notoriously monotheists and bitterly 
hostile to every form of idolatry ? Why carry coals 
to Newcastle on so huge a scale ? 
Why turn ^n,j granted that the Nazarenes, in their anxiety 
Jeahua to be parabolical and misunderstood of their readers, 
Into a man -^yrote Jews when they meant Pagans, was it neces- 
sary in the interests of their monotheistic crusade to 
nickname their One God Jesus, to represent him as 
a man and a carpenter, with brothers and sisters, 
and a mother that did not believe in him ; as a man 
who was a Jew with the prejudices of a Jew, a man 
circumcised and insisting that he came not to destroy 
the law of Moses, but to fulfil it ; as a man who was 
born like other men of a human father and mother ; 
was crucified, dead and buried ; whose disciples and 
Galilean companioQS, when in the first flush of their 
grief they heard from Mary Magdalene the strange 
story of his first appearing to her after death, still 
"disbelieved"?! 
The These Nazarenes were, in their quality of " students 

the initial of religion" (p. 65), intent on converting the world 
"J" 

' Mark xvi, 9. The oircumstanee that Mark xvi, 9-20, was added 
to the Gospel by another hand in no way diminishes the significance 
of the passage here adduced. 



THE AET OF GEITICISM 195 

from polytheism. Why, then, did they call their 
sublime deity by the name of Jesus ? " The word 
Jesus itself," writes Mr. Smith, 

also made special appeal to the Jewish consciousness, 
for it was practically identical with their own Jeshua, 
now understood by most to mean strictly Jah-help, 
but easily confounded with a similar J'shu'ah, mean- 
ing Deliverance, Saviour, Witness, Matthew i, 21. 
Moreover, the initial letter J, so often representing 
Jah in Hebrew words, must have powerfully suggested 
Jehovah to the Jewish consciousness. 

But what Jew of the first century, however fond of 
the tales about Joshua which he read in his scriptures, 
was ever minded to substitute his name for that of 
Jehovah merely because it began with a J and has 
been explained by twentieth-century Hebraists as 
meaning Jah-help ? The idea is exquisitely humorous. 
While they were about it why did the Nazarenes not 
adopt the name Immanuel, which in that allegorical 
romance (which from Mr. Smith we know to be the 
character of Matthew's Gospel) they fished up out of 
the Hebrew prophet Isaiah ? If Jehovah was not 
good enough for them, Immanuel was surely better 
than the name Jeshua, with its associations of pillage 
and murder. But apart from these considerations, 
as the name Jeshua is Hebrew, it follows that the 
secret sectaries who had this cult must have been of 
a Jewish cast. But, if so, what Jew, we ask, ever 
heard of a God called Jeshua or Joshua ? As I have 
already pointed out, the very memory of such a God, 
if there ever was one, perished long before the Book 
of Joshua could have been written. Like the gods 
Daoud and Joseph, with whom writers of this class 
seek to conjure our wits out of our heads, a god 
Joshua is a mere preposterous superfetation of a 



196 



THE AET OF CEITICISM 



Supposed 
confaBion 
of Jesus 
with 
iisomai 



disordered imagination. " There were abundant 
reasons," writes Mr. Smith (p. 16), 

why the name Jesus should be the Aaron's rod to 
swallow up all other designations. Its meaning, 
which was felt to be Saviour, was grand, comforting, 
uplifting. The notion of the world-Saviour thrust 
its roots into the loam of the remotest antiquity. 

One regrets to have to criticize such dithyrambic 
outpourings of Mr. Smith's heart. But, granted 
there was a widespread expectation, such as Suetonius 
records, of Messiahs who were to issue from Judsea 
and conquer all the world, who ever heard of the 
name Joshua being assigned in advance to one of 
them ? Who ever in that age felt the name Jesus 
to be grand, comforting, uplifting ? Is not Mr. 
Smith attributing his own feelings, as he sat in a 
Sunday school, to Jews and Gentiles of the first 
century ? I add Gentiles, for he pretends that the 
name Jesus appealed to the Greek consciousness also 
as a derivative of the Ionic future 'IficFOfiai iesomai = I 
will heal. Now what Christian writer ever made this 
rapprochement ? Not a single one. Surely, if we are 
minded to argue the man Jesus out of existence, we 
ought to have a vera causa to put in his place, a 
belief, or, if we like it better, a myth which was really 
believed, and is known to have entered deeply into 
the lives and consciences of men ? It is true that 
the idea of a Messiah did so enter, but not in the 
form in which Mr. Smith loves to conceive it. The 
Messiah was such a human figure as Suetonius had 
heard of ; he was a man who should, as we read in 
Acts, restore the kingdom of David. "Lord, dost 
Thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" is 
the question the apostles are said (Acts i, 7) to 



THE AET OP CEITICISM 197 

put to Jesus as soon as his apparitions before them 
had revived the Messianic hopes which his death had 
so woefully dashed. The incident is probably apocry- 
phal, yet its presence in the narrative illustrates what 
a Messiah was then expected by Christians to achieve. 
Judas MaccabaBus, Cyrus, Bar Coehba, Judas of 
Galilee — these and other heroes of Israel had the 
quality of Messiahs. They were all men, and not 
myths. The suggestion, then, that the name Jesus 
was one to conjure with is idle and baseless ; and if 
his name had been Obadiah or Nathaniel, Professor 
Smith would have been equally ready to prove that 
these were attractive names, bound to triumph and 
" swallow up all other designations." He only pitches 
on the name of Jesus for his pre-Christian Saviour- 
god because he finds it in the Gospels ; but inasmuch 
as he sees in them mere allegorical romances, entirely 
unhistorical and having no root in facts, there is no 
reason for adopting from them one name more than 
another. How does he know that the appellation 
Jesus is not as much of a Nazarene fiction as he holds 
every other name and person and incident to be which 
the Gospels contain ? Is it not more probable that 
this highly secretive sect, with their horror of " tell- 
tale," would keep secret the name of their Saviour- 
god, as the Essenes kept secret the names of their 
patron angels ? The truth is, even Mr. Smith cannot 
quite divest himself of the idea that there is some 
historical basis for the Gospels ; otherwise he would 

not have turned to them for the name of his Saviour- 

n Mr. Smith 

gO"^- denies all 

More consistently, however, than Mr. Robertson, historicity 

Professor Smith denies that there are any allusions ^nd"*^ 

to the real Jesus in the rest of the New Testament. Epistles 



198 THE ART OP CEITICISM 

The Acts and Epistles do not, he says (p. 23), 
" recognize at all the life of Jesus as a man," though 
" their general tenour gives great value to the death of 
Jesus as a God." This is a new reading of the docu- 
ments in question, for the Pauline conviction was 
that Jesus had been crucified and died as a man, and, 
being raised up from death by the Spirit, had been 
promoted to be, what he was antenatally, a super- 
human or angelic figure^ — a Christ or Messiah, who 
was to come again on earth and judge mankind. Of 
his mere humanity while on this earth, and as long 
as he was associating with human disciples, Paul 
entertained no doubts. How could he, inasmuch as 
he had stayed with them at Jerusalem ? Mr. 

' In the same manner, as we know from Origen (Com,, in Evang. 
loannis, torn, xiii, 27), the Samaritans had a Messiah named Dosi- 
theos, who rose from the dead, and professed himself to be the Messiah 
of prophecy. His sect survived in the third century, as also his books, 
which, as Origen says, were full of " myth " about him to the effect 
that he had not tasted of death, but was somewhere or other still 
alive. By all the rules of criticism as used by Mr. Robertson and his 
friends, we must deny that Dositheos ever lived. The idea of a 
human hero being an angel or divine power made flesh was common 
among Jews, and in their apocryph, " The Prayer of Jacob " (see 
Origen, op. cit., tom. ii, 25), that worthy represented himself as such 
in the very language of Pa.ul and of the Fourth Gospel : " I who 
spoke to you, I, Jacob and Israel, am an angel of God and a primeval 
spirit, as Abraham and Isaak were created in advance of all creatures. 

But I, Jacob, called Israel by God, a man seeing God, because I 

am first-born of all living beings made alive by God." We also learn 
that Uriel was sent forth by God to herald Jacob's descent upon earth, 
where he " tabernacled among men." Jacob declares himself to be 
" archangel of the power of God, and arch-captain among the sons of 
God, Israel the foremost minister of the Presence." Paul, we observe, 
did not need to go outside Judaism for his conceptions of Jesus, nor 
Justin Martyr either, who regularly speaks of Jesus as an archangel. 
So also among the pagans. In Augustus Csesar his contemporaries 
loved to detect one of the great gods of Olympus just descended to earth 
in the semblance of a man. He was the god Mercury or some other 
god incarnate. His birth was a god's descent to earth in order to 
expiate the sins of the Eomans. Thus Horace, Odes, I, 2, v. 29 : Cui 
dabit partes scelus expiandi Juppiter, and ep. v. 45 : Serus in caelum 
redeas — "Mayest thou be late in returning to heaven." 



THE AET OF CEITICISM 199 

Robertson, as we saw, although he dissipates Jesus 
in the Gospels into a Sun- God- Saviour Joshua, never- 
theless is so impressed by the Pauline " references 
to a crucified Jesus" (p. 364) that he resuscitates 
Jesus Ben Pandira out of the limbo of the Talmud. 
Perhaps he strains at a gnat after swallowing a camel. 
Anyhow, I wUl leave Mr. Smith to settle accounts with 
him, and turn to a fresh point, which has not occurred 
to either of them. 

It is this. Adonis and Osiris were never regarded by ''f°Q^* 
their votaries as having been human beings that had tian belief 
recently lived and died on the face of this earth. The '^th^^^t 
Christians, in strong contrast with them and with all of Adonis 
other pagans ever heard of, did so regard Jesus from °^ ^""^^ 
first to last. Why so, when they knew that from the 
first he was a God and up in heaven ? Why has the 
fact of his unreality, as these writers argue it, left no 
trace of itself in Christian tradition and literature ? 
According to this new school of critics, the Nazarenes, 
when they wrote down the Gospels, knew perfectly 
well that Jesus was a figment, and had never lived at 
all. And yet we never get a hint that he was only 
a myth, and that the New Testament is a gigantic 
fumisterie. Why so ? Why from the very first did 
the followers of Jesus entertain what Mr. Smith 
denounces as " an a priori concept of the Jesus " 
(p. 35) ? Why, in other words, were they convinced 
from the beginning that he was a man of flesh and blood, 
who had lived on earth among them? The "early 
secrecy," the " esoterism of the primitive cult " (p. 39), 
says Mr. Smith, " was intended to be only temporary." 
If so, why could not the Nazarenes, primarily 
interested as they were, not in lies and bogus, but in 
disseminating their lofty monotheism, have thrown 



200 THE AET OF CEITIGISM 

off the disguise some time or other, and explained 
to their spiritual children that the intensely concrete 
life of Jesus which they had published in our Gospel 
of Mark meant nothing ; that it was all an allegory, 
and no more, of a Saviour-god, who had never existed 
as a human being, nor even as the docetic phantasma- 
goria of the Gnostic ? " Something sealed the lips of 
that (Nazarene) evangelist," and the Nazarenes have 
kept their secret so well through the ages that it has 
been reserved for Mr. Smith first to pierce the veil and 
unlock their mystery. He it is who has at last dis- 
covered that " in proto-Mark we behold the manifest 
God" (p. 24). 

Now what possessed the Nazarenes so firmly to 
impose on the world through the Gospels an erroneous 
view of their God, that for 2,000 years not only their 
spiritual offspring, the Christians, but Jews and 
pagans as well, have believed him to have lived on 
earth, a man of flesh and blood and of like passions 
with themselves ? Was the deception necessary ? The 
votaries of Osiris and Adonis were never so tricked. 
The adherents of the Augustalian cult, the pious 
Greeks and Syrians who thronged to be healed of 
their diseases at the shrines of ApoUonius, believed, 
of course, that their patron saints and gods had lived, 
prior to their apotheosis, upon earth ; and so they 
had. But a follower of Osiris or ^sculapius would 
have opened his eyes wide with astonishment if you 
asked him to believe that his Saviour had died only 
the other day in Judsea. Not so a Christian ; for the 
Nazarene monotheists had so thoroughly fooled him 
with their Gospels that he was ready to supply you 
with dates and pedigrees and all sorts of other details 
about his Saviour's personal history. And yet all the 



THE AET OP CEITICISM 201' 

time, had he only known it, his religion laboured 
under the same initial disadvantage as the cult of 
Osiris or iEseulapius — that, namely, of its founder 
never having lived at all. What, then, did " such 
students of religion, as the first Christians were" 
{Ecce Deus, p. 65), imagine was to be gained by hood- 
winking their descendants for the long centuries 
which have intervened between them and the advent 
of Professor W. B. Smith ? 



Chaptek VII 
DR. JENSEN 



Baby- 
lonian 
influence 
on Greek 
religion 
slight ; 



on Hebrew 
religion 
more im- 
portant ; 



The three writers whose views I have so far considered 
agree in denying that Jesus was a real historical per- 
sonage ; but their agreement extends no further, for 
the Jesus legend is the precipitate, according to 
Professor W. B. Smith, of a monotheistic propaganda ; 
according to Mr. Robertson, of a movement mainly 
idolatrous, polytheistic, and pagan. There exists in 
Germany, however, a third school of denial, which 
sees in the Jesus story a duplicate of the ancient 
Babylonian Gilgamesch legend. The more extreme 
writers of this school have endeavoured to show that 
not only the Hebrews, but the Greeks as well, derived 
their religious myths and rites from ancient Babylon ; 
and their general hypothesis has on that account been 
nicknamed Pan-Babylonismus. This is not the place 
to criticize the use made of old Babylonian mythology 
in explanation of old Greek religion, though I do well 
to point out that the best students of the latter — for 
example, Dr. Parnell — confine the indebtedness of the 
Greeks to very narrow limits. 

The case of the Hebrew scriptures and religion 
stands on different ground ; for the Jews were 
Semites, and their myths of creation and of the 
origin and early history of man are, by the admission 
even of orthodox divines of to-day, largely borrowed 
from the more ancient civilization of Babylon. Thus 

202 



DE. JENSEN 209 

Heinrich Zimmern (art. " Deluge," in Encyclopcedia 
Bihlica) writes : " Of all the parallel traditions of a 
deluge, the Babylonian is undeniably the most 
important, because the points of contact between it 
and the Hebrew story are so striking that the view of 
the dependence of one of the two on the other is 
directly suggested even to the most cautious of 
students." 

This undoubted occurrence of Babylonian myths in yet a Jew 
the Book of Genesis has provided some less critical possessed 
and cautious cuneiform scholars with a clue, as they ?°™®. 
imagine, to the entire contents of the Bible from tion of his 
beginning to end. It is as if the Jews, all through °^^° 
their literary history of a thousand years, could not 
possibly have invented any myths of their own, still 
less have picked a few up elsewhere than in Babylon. 
Accordingly, in a volume of 1,030 enormous pages, 
P. Jensen has undertaken to show^ that the New 
Testament, no less than the Old, was derived from 
this single well-spring. Moses and Aaron, Joshua, 
Jeroboam, Kehoboam, Hadad, Jacob and Esau, Saul, 
David and Jonathan, Joseph and his brethren, 
Potiphar, Kachel and Leah, Laban, Zipporah, Miriam 
sister of Moses, Dinah, Simeon and Levi, Jethro and 
the Gibeonites and Sichemites, Sarah and Hagar, 
Abraham and Isaac, Samson, Uriah and Nathan, mesch, 
Naboth, Elijah and Elisha, Naaman, Benhadad and ^'^J'^?'' 
Hazael, Gideon, Jerubbaal, Abimelech, Jephthah, holy 
Tobit, Jehu, and pretty well any other personage in i^ariot, 
the Old Testament, are duplicates, according to him, iats of 
of Gilgamesch or his companion the shepherd Eabani ^^e entire 
(son of Ea), or of the Hierodule or sacred prostitute, Testament 

1 Das Gilgamesch Epos in der Weltliteratur, 1906. 



204 DE. JENSEN 

and of a few more leading figures in the Babylonian 
epic. There is hardly a story in the whole of Jewish 
literature which is not, according to Jensen, an echo 
of the Gilgamesch legend ; and every personage, every 
incident, is freely manipulated to make them fit this 
Procrustean bed. No combinations of elements separ- 
ated in the Biblical texts, no separations of elements 
united therein, no recasting of the fabric of a narrative, 
no modifications of any kind, are so violent as to deter 
Dr. Jensen. At the top of every page is an abstract 
of its argument, usually of this type: " Der Hirte 
Eabani, die Hieo'odule und Gilgamesch. Der Hirte 
Moses, sein Weib und Aaron." In other words, as 
Moses was one shepherd and Eabani another, Moses 
is no other than Eabani. As there is a sacred 
prostitute in the Gilgamesch story, and a wife in the 
legend of Moses, therefore wife and prostitute are 
one and the same. As Gilgamesch was companion of 
Eabani, and Aaron of Moses, therefore Aaron was an 
alias of Gilgamesch. Dr. Jensen is quite content with 
points of contact between the stories so few and slight 
as the above, and pursues this sort of loose argument 
over a thousand pages. Here is another such rubric : 
" Simson-Gilgamesch's Leiche und Saul-Gilgamesch's 
Gebeine wieder ausgegraben, Elisa-Gilgamesch's Grab 
geotfnet." In other words, Simson, or Samson, left a 
corpse behind him (who does not ?) ; Saul's bones 
were piously looked after by the Jabeshites ; Elisha's 
bones raised a dead Moabite by mere contact to fresh 
life. These three figures are, therefore, ultimately 
one, and that one is Gilgamesch ; and their three 
stories, which have no discernible features in common, 
are so many disguises of the Gilgamesch epos. 
But Dr. Jensen transcends himself in the New 



DE. JENSEN 205* 

Testament. "The Jesus-saga," he informs us (p. 933), as also of 
" as it meets us in the Synoptic Gospels, and equally NeV° "^ 
as it meets us in John's Gospel, stands out among all Testament 
the other Gilgameseh Sagas which we have so far 
{i.e., in the Old Testament) expounded, in that it not 
merely follows up the main body of the Saga with 
sundry fragments of it, like so many stragglers, but 
sets before us a long series of bits of it arranged in 
the original order almost undisturbed."^ 

And he waxes eloquent about the delusions and 
ignorance of Christians, who for 2,000 years have 
been erecting churches and cathedrals in honour of 
a Jesus of Nazareth, who all the time was a mere alias 
of Gilgameseh. 

Let us, then, test some of the arguments by which g°^°^ 
this remarkable conclusion is reached. Let us begin 
with John the Baptist (p. 811). John was a prophet, 
who appeared east of the Jordan. So was Elias or 
Elijah. Elijah was a hairy man, and John wore 
a raiment of camel's-hair ; both of them wore leather 
girdles. 

Now, in the Gilgameseh story, Eabani is covered 
with hair all over his body (p. 579 — "am ganzen 
Leibe mit Haaren bedeckt ist"). Eabani (p. 818) is 
a hairy man, and presumably was clad in skins (" ist 
ein haariger Mann und vermutlich mit Fellen be- 
kleidet"). Dr. Jensen concludes from this that John 
and Elijah are both of them, equally and inde- 
pendently, duplicates or understudies of Eabani. It 

' P. 933 : "Die Jesus-sage nach den Synoptikern — wie auch die 
nach Johannes — unterscheidet sioh nun aber von alien anderen bisher 
erorterten Gilgamesch-sagen dadurch, dass sie hinter dem Gros der 
Sage nioht uur einzelne Bruohstiiclje von ihr als Naohziigler bringt, 
sondern eifle lange Eeihe von Stucken der Sage ire fast ungesWrter 
urspriinglicher Beihenfolge," etc. 



206 DE. JENSEN 

never occurs to him that in the desert camel's-hair 
was a handy material out of which to make a coat, 
as also leather to make girdles of, and that desert 
prophets in any story whatever would inevitably be 
represented as clad in such a manner. He has, 
indeed, heard of Jo. Weiss's suggestion that Luke 
had read the LXX, and modelled his picture of John 
the Baptist on Elij ah ; but he rejects the suggestion, for 
he feels — and rightly — that to make any such admis- 
sions must compromise his main theory, which is that 
the old Babylonian epic was the only source of the 
evangelists. No (he writes), John's girdle, like Elijah's, 
came straight out of the Saga (" wohl dureh die Sage 
bedingt ist"). Nor (he adds) can Luke's story of 
Sarah and Zechariah be modelled on Old Testament 
examples, as critics have argued. On the contrary, it 
is a fresh reflex of Gilgamesch (" ein neuer Reflex "), 
an independent sidelight cast by the central Baby- 
lonian orb (" ein neues Seitenstiiek "), and is copied 
direct. We must not give in to the suggestion thrown 
out by modern critics that it is a later addition to the 
original evangelical tradition. Far from that being 
so, it must be regarded as an integral and original 
constituent in the Jesus-saga (" So wird man zuges- 
tehen miissen, dass sie keine Zugabe, sondern ein 
integrierender Urbestandteil der Jesus-sage ist"). 
Jesus— From this and many similar passages we realize 

mesch ^^^* ^^^ ^^®^^ ^^^^ Jesus never lived, but was a mere 
reflex of Gilgamesch, is not, in Jensen's mind, a con- 
clusion to be proved, but a dogma assumed as the 
basis of all argument, a dogma to which we must 
adjust all our methods of inquiry. To admit any 
other sources of the Gospel story, let alone historical 
facts, would be to infringe the exclusive apriority, as 



DE. JENSEN 207' 

a source, of the Babylonian epic ; and that is why we 
are not allowed to argue up to the latter, but only 
down from it. If for a moment he is ready to admit 
that Old Testament narrative coloured Luke's birth- 
story, and that (for example) the angel's visit in the 
first chapter of Luke was suggested by the thirteenth 
chapter of Judges, he speedily takes back the admis- 
sion. Such an assumption is not necessary (" allein 
notig ist ein solche Annahme nicht "). 
" So much," he writes (p. 818), 

of John's person alone. Let us now pursue the Jesus 
Saga further. 

In the Gilgamesch Epic it is related how the 
Hunter marched out to Eabani with the holy prosti- 
tute, how Eabani enjoyed her, and afterwards pro- 
ceeded with her to Erech, where, directly or in his 
honour, a festival was held ; how he there attached 
himself to Gilgamesch, and how kingly honours were 
by the latter awarded to him. We must by now in a 
general way assume on the part of our readers a know- 
ledge of how these events meet us over again in the 
Sagas of the Old Testament. In the numerous 
Gilgamesch Sagas, then [of the Old Testament], we 
found again this rencounter with the holy prostitute. 
And yet we seek it in vain in the three first Gospels 
in the exact context where we should find it on the 
supposition that they must embody a Gilgamesch 
Saga — that is to say, immediately subsequent to 
John's emergence in the desert. Equally little do 
we find in this context any reflex of Eabani's entry 
into the city of Erech, all agog at the moment with 
a festival. On the other hand, we definitely find in 
its original position an echo of Gilgamesch's meeting 
with Eabani.i 

' P. 818. So weit von Johannis Person allein. Verfolgen wir 
nun die Jesus-Sage weiter. _ 

Im Gilgamesch Epos wird erzahlt, wie zu Eabani in der Wuste der 
Jager mit der Hierodule iiinauszieht, wie Eabani ihrer habe geniesst, 
und dann mit ihr naeh Erech kommt, wo grade oder ihm zu Ehre ein 



208 DE. JENSEN 

UtB^^^^' ^^^ "^ pause a moment and take stock of the 
borrowed above. In the epic two heroes meet each other in a 
from GQ* desert. John and Jesus also meet in a desert ; there- 
gamesch fore, SO argues Jensen, John and Jesus are reproduc- 
epos alone tj^^g ^f j.j^g heroes in question, and neither of them 
ever lived. It matters nothing that neither John 
nor Jesus was a Nimrod. This encounter of Gilga- 
mesch and Eabani was, as Jensen reminds us, the 
model of every Old Testament story in which two 
males happen to meet in a desert ; therefore it must 
have been the model of the evangelists also when 
they concocted their story of John and Jesus meeting 
in the wilderness. But how about the prostitute; 
and how about the entry into Erech ? How are 
these lacunse of the Gospel story to be filled in ? 
Jensen's solution is remarkable; he finds the encounter 
with the prostitute to have been the model on which 
the fourth evangelist contrived his story of Jesus's 
visit to Martha and Mary. For that evangelist, like 
the synoptical ones, had the Gilgamesch Saga stored 
all ready in his escritoire, and finding that his prede- 
cessors had omitted the prostitute he hastened to fill 
up the lacuna, and doubled her into Martha and Mary. 
In this and many other respects, so we are assured 
by Jensen, the fourth evangelist reproduces the 

Fest gefeiert wird, wie er sich dort an Gilgamesch ansohliesst und ihn 
duroh Diesen konigliclie Ehren zuteil werden. Welche Metamor- 
phosen diese Gesohehnisse in den Sagen des alien Testaments erlebt 
haben, darf jetzt in der Hauptsaohe als bekaunt vorausgesetzt 
werden. In zahlreiehen Gilgamesch-Sa,gen fanden wir nun die 
Begegnung mit der Hierodule wieder. Aber vergeblioh suchen wir 
sie dort in den drei ersten Evangelieu, wo ihr Platz ware, falls diese 
etwa eine Gilgamesch-Sa.ge enthalten sollten, namlioh unmittelbar 
hinter Johannis Auftreten in der Wuste. Ebenso wenig finden wir 
an dieser Stelle etwa einen Eeflex yon Eabani's Einzug in das 
festlich erregte Erech. Wohl dagegen treffen wir an ursprunglieher 
Stelle ein Wiederhall von Gilgamesoh's Begegnung mit Eabani. 



DE. JENSEN 209 . 

Gilgamesch epic more fully and systematically than 
the other evangelists, and on that account we must 
assign to John's setting of the life of Christ a certain 
preference and priority. He is truer to the only 
source there was for any of it. The other lacuna of 
the Synoptic Gospels is the feasting in Erech and 
Eabani's entry amid general feasting into that city. 
The corresponding episode in the Gospels, we are 
assured, is the triumphant entry of Jesus into 
Jerusalem, which the Fourth Gospel, again hitting 
the right nail on the head, sets at the beginning of 
Jesus's ministry, and not at its end. But what, we 
still ask, is the Gospel counterpart to the honours 
heaped by Gilgamesch on Eabani ? How dull we 
are ! " The baptism of Jesus by John must, apart 
from other considerations, have arisen out of the 
fact that Eabani, after his arrival at Gilgamesch's 
palace, is by him allotted kingly honours."^ 

So then Eabani, who as a hairy man was John the 
Baptist, is now, by a turn of Jensen's kaleidoscope, 
metamorphosed into Jesus, for it is John who did 
Jesus the honour of baptizing him. Conversely, 
Gilgamesch, who began as Jesus, is now suddenly 
turned into John. In fact, Jesus- Gilgamesch and 
John-Eabani have suddenly changed places with one- 
another, in accordance, I suppose, with the rule of 
interpretation, somewhere laid down by HugO' 
Winckler, that in astral myths one hero is apt t© 
swop with another, not only his stage properties, but 
his personality. But fresh surprises are in store for 
Jensen's readers. 

1 P. 820. Jesu Taufe dureh Johannes ware sonst auch daraus 
geworden, dass Eabani, nach dem er an Gilgamesch's Hof gelangt 
ist, durch Diesen Koniglicher Ehren teilhaft wird. 

P 



210 DE. JENSEN 

Over scores of pages he has argued that John the 
Baptist is no other than Eabani, because he so faith- 
fully fulfils over again the role of the Eabanis we 
meet with in the Old Testament. For example, 
according to Luke (i, 15, and vii, 33) John drinks no 
wine, and is, therefore, a Nazirean, who eschews 
wine and forbears to cut his hair. Therein he 
resembles Joseph-Eabani, and Simson-Eabani, and 
Samuel-Eabani, and also Absolom, who, as an Eabani, 
had at least an upper growth of hair. And as the 
Eabani of the Epic, with the long head-hair of a 
woman, drinks water along with the wild beasts in the 
desert, and as Eabani, in company with these beasts, 
feeds on grass and herbs alone, so, at any rate 
according to Luke, John ate no bread.^ 

Imagine the reader's consternation when, after 
these convincing demonstrations of John's identity 
with Eabani, and of his consequent non-historicity, he 
finds him a hundred pages later on altogether elimi- 
nated, as from the Gilgamesch Epic, so from the Gospel. 
For the difficulty suddenly arises before Dr. Jensen's 
mind that John the Baptist, being mentioned by 
Josephus, must after all have really lived ; but if he 
lived, then he cannot have been a mere reflex of 
Eabani. Had he only consulted Dr. Drews'swork on 
the Witnesses to the Historicity of Jesus (English trans- 
lation, p. 190), he would have known that "the John 

' Nach Lukas (1, 15 and vii, 33) trinkt Johannes keinen Wein, ist 
also ein Nasiraer. der keinen Wein trinkt und dessen Haar nicht 
kekilrzt wird, ebenso wie Joseph-Eabani, wie Simson als ein Eabani, 
wie Samuel-Eabani, wie Absolom als £a6ani wenigstens einen iippigen 
HaarvmchB besitzt, und wie der Eabani des Epos, mit dem langen 
Haupthaar eines Weibes, in der Wiiste mit den Tieren zusammen 
Wasser trinkt, und wie Eabani mit diesen Tieren zusammen nur Gras 
und Krauter frisst, so isst Johannes, nach Lukag wenigstens, keia 
Brot. 



DE. JENSEN 211 

of the Gospels "is no other than " the Babylonian 
Cannes, Joannes, or Hanni, the curiously- shaped 
creature, half fish and half man, who, according to 
Berosus, was the first law-giver and inventor of letters 
and founder of civilization, and who rose every morn- 
ing from the waves of the Ked Sea in order to instruct 
men as to his real spiritual nature." 

Why could not Dr. Jensen consult Dr. Drews " as 
to the real spiritual nature " of John the Baptist ? Why 
not consult Mr. Eobertson, who overwhelms Josephus's 
inconvenient testimony to the reality of John the 
Baptist (in 18 Antiq., v, § 2) with the customary 
" suspicion of interpolation." Poor Dr. Jensen lacks 
their resourcefulness, and is able to discover no other 
way out of his impasse than to suppose that it was 
originally Lazarus and not John that had a place in 
his Gilgamesch Epic, and that some ill-natured editor 
of the Gospels, for reasons he alone can divine, every- 
where struck out the name of Lazarus, and inserted 
in place of it that of John the Baptist, which he 
found in the works of Josephus. Such are the 
possibilities of Gospel redaction as Jensen under- 
stands them. 

One more example of Dr. Jensen's system. In the 
Gospel, Jesus, finding himself on one occasion sur- 
rounded by a larger throng of people than was desir- 
able, took a boat in order to get away from them, and 
passed across the lake on the shore of which he had 
been preaching and ministering to the sick. The 
incident is a commonplace one enough, but nothing 
is too slight and unimportant for Dr. Jensen to detect 
in it a Gilgamesch parallel, and accordingly he writes 
thus of it : "As for Xisuthros, so for Jesus, a boat is 
lying ready, and like Xisuthros and Jonas, Jesus 



212 DE. JENSEN 

' flees ' in a boat."^ Xisuthros, I may remind the 
reader, is the name of the flood-hero in Berosus. 
Hardly a single one of the parallels which crowd the 
thousand pages of Dr. Jensen is less flimsy than the 
above. Without doing more violence to texts and to 
probabilities, one could prove that Achilles and 
Patroclus and Helen, ^neas and Achates and Dido, 
Don Quixote and Sancho Panza and Dulcinea, were 
all of them so many understudies of Gilgamesch, 
Eabani and his temple slave ; and we almost expect 
to find such a demonstration in his promised second 
volume. 

I cannot but think that my readers will resent any 
further specimens of Dr. Jensen's system. He has 
not troubled himself to acquire the merest ab c ot 
modern textual criticism. He has no sense of the 
differences of idea and style which divide the Fourth 
from the earlier Gospels, and he lacks all insight into 
the development of the Gospel tradition. He takes 
Christian documents out of their historical context, 
and ignores their dependence on the Judaism of the 
period b.c. 100 to a.d. 100. He has no understanding 
of the prophetic, Messianic and Apocalyptic aspects of 
early Christianity, no sense of its intimate relations 
with the beliefs and opinions which lie before us in 
apocryphs like the Book of Enoch, the Fourth Esdras, 
the Ascent of Isaiah, the Testaments of the Patriarchs. 
He has never learned that in the four Gospels he has 
before him successive stages or layers of stratification 
of Christian tradition, and he accordingly treats them 
as a single literary block, of which every part is of 



^ p. 838 : Wie fiir Xisuthros, liegt fiir Jesus ein Sehiff bereit, und, 
wie Xisuthros und Jonas, " flieht " Jesus in ein Sehiff. 



DE. JENSEN 213 

the same age and evidential value. Like his Gilga- 
mesch Epic the Gospels, for all he knows about them, 
might have been dug up only yesterday among the 
sands of Mesopotamia, instead of being the work of 
a sect with which, as early as the end of the first 
century, we are fairly well acquainted. Never once 
does he ask himself how the authors of the New 
Testament came to have the Gilgamesch Epic at the 
tips of their tongues, exactly in the form in which he 
translates it from Babylonian tablets incised 2,000 
years before Christ ? By what channels did it reach 
them ? Why were they at such pains to transform it 
into the story of a Galilean Messiah crucified by the 
Roman Governor of Judaea ? And as Paul and Peter, 
like everyone else named in the book, are duplicates 
of Gilgamesch and Eabani, where are we to draw the 
line of intersection between heaven and earth ; where 
fix the year in which the early Christians ceased to be 
myths and became mere men and women ? This is 
a point it equally behoves Dr. Drews and Mr. 
Robertson and Professor W. B. Smith to clear up our 
doubts about. 



EPILOGUE 

Op the books passed in review in the preceding pages, 
as of several others couched in the same vein and 
recently published in England and Germany, perhaps 
the best that can be said is this, that, at any rate, they 
are untrammelled by orthodox prejudice, and fear- 
lessly written. That they belong, so to speak, to the 
extreme left, explains the favour with which they are 
received by that section of the middle-class reading 
public which has conceived a desire to learn some- 
thing of the origins of Christianity. Unschooled in 
the criticism of documents, such readers have learned 
in the school Bible-lesson and in the long hours of 
instruction in what is called Divinity, to regard the 
Bible as they regard no other collection of ancient 
writings. It is, as a rule, the only ancient book they 
ever opened. They have discovered that orthodoxy 
depends for its life on treating it as a book apart, 
not to be submitted to ordinary tests, not to be sifted 
and examined, as we have learned from Hume and 
Niebuhr, Gibbon and Grote, to sift ancient documents 
in general, rejecting ab initio the supernatural myths 
that are never absent from them. The acuter minds 
among the clergy themselves begin nowadays to 
realize that the battle of Freethought and Rationalism 
is won as far as the miracles of the Old Testament 
are concerned ; but as regards those of the New they 
are for ever trying to close up their ranks and rally 

214 



EPILOGUE 215 * 

their hosts afresh. Nevertheless, the man in the 
street has a shrewd suspicion that apologetics are 
so much special pleading, and that miracles cannot be 
eliminated from the Old and yet remain in the New 
Testament. He has never received any training in 
methods of historical research himself, and it is no 
easy thing to obtain ; but he is clever enough to 
detect the evasions of apologists, and, with instinctive 
revulsion, turns away to writers who " go the whole 
hog " and argue for the most extreme positions, even 
to the length of asserting that the story of Jesus is 
a myth from beginning to end. Any narratives, he 
thinks, that have the germs of truth in them would 
not need the apologetic prefaces and commentaries, 
the humming and hawing, the specious arguments 
and wire-drawn distinctions of divines, any more than 
do Froissart or Clarendon or Herodotus. If the New 
Testament needs them, then it must be a mass of 
fable from end to end. Such is the impression 
which our modern apologists leave on the mind of 
the ordinary man. 

I can imagine some of my readers objecting here 
that, whereas I have so rudely assailed the method 
of interpretation of New Testament documents adopted 
by the Nihilistic school — I only use this name as a 
convenient label for those who deny the historical 
reality of Jesus Christ — I nevertheless propound no 
rival method of my own. The truth is there is no 
abstract method of using documents relating to the 
past, and you cannot in advance lay down rules for 
doing so. You can only learn how to deal with them 
by practice, and it is one of the chief functions of 
any university or place of higher education to imbue 
students with historical method by setting before 



216 EPILOGUE 

them the original documents, and inspiring them to 
extract from them whatever solid results they can. 
A hundred years ago the better men in the college 
of Christchurch at Oxford were so trained by the 
dean, Cyril Jackson, who would set them the task of 
" preparing for examination the whole of Livy and 
Polybius, thoroughly read and studied in all their 
comparative bearings." * No better curriculum, indeed, 
could be devised for strengthening and developing 
the faculty of historical judgment ; and the schools 
of Literae Humaniores and Modern History, which 
were subsequently established at Oxford, carried on 
the tradition of this enlightened educationalist. In 
them the student is brought face to face in the 
original dialects with the records of the past, and 
stimulated to "read and study them in their com- 
parative bearings." One single branch of learning, 
however, has been treated apart in the universities 
of Oxford and CamlDridge, and pursued along the 
lines of tradition and authorit}' — I mean the study 
of Christian antiquities. The result has been deplor- 
able. Intellectually-minded Englishmen have turned 
away from this field of history as from something 
tainted, and barely one of our great historians in a 
century deems it worthy of his notice. It has been 
left to parsons, to men who have never learned to 
swim, because they have never had enough courage 
to venture into deep water. As we sow, so we reap. 
The English Church is probably the most enlightened 
of the many sects that make up Christendom. Yet 



1 I cite an unfinished memoir of my grandfather, W. D. Conybeare, 
himself a pioneer of geology and no mean paleeontologist, who owed 
much of his discernment in these fields to such a training in historical 
method as he describes. 



EPILOGUE 217 

what is the treatment which it accords to any member 
of itself who has the courage to dissociate himself 
from the " orthodoxy " of the fourth century, of those 
Greek Fathers (so-called) in whom the human intelli- 
gence sank to the nadir of fanaticism and futility? 
An example was recently seen in the case of the 
Rev. Mr. TV. H. Thompson, a young theological 
tutor of Magdalen College in Oxford, who, animated by 
nothing but loyalty for the Church, recently liberated 
his soul about the miracles of the Gospels in a 
thoroughly scholarly book entitled Miracles in the 
Xcic Testament. The attitude of the clergy in general 
towards a work of genuine research, which sets truth 
above traditional orthodoxy, was revealed in a con- 
ference of the clergy of the southern province, held 
soon after its publication on May 19, 1911. The 
following account of that meeting is taken from the 
Guardian of May 26, 1911 :— 

The Rev. E. F. Bevan, in the Canterbury Diocesan 
Conference on May 19, 1911, proposed "that this 
Conference is of opinion that the clergy should make 
use of the hght thrown on the Bible by modern 
criticism for the purposes of rehgious teaching." The 
Bishop of Croydon moved the following rider : " But 
desires to record its distrust of critics who, while 
holding office in the Church of Christ, propound 
views inconsistent with the doctrines laid down in 
the creeds of the Church." 

He said it was needful to define what was meant 
by modern criticism. He refeiTed to a book which 
had been pubUshed quite lately by the Dean of 
Divinity of Magdalen College, Oxford, a review of 
which would be found in the Guardian of May 12. 
He must honestly confess he had not read the book 

for himself He then premised from the review 

that the work in question rejects the evidence both 
for the Virgin Birth of Christ and for his bodily 



218 EPILOGUE 

Eesurrection from the tomb , and added that 

the toleration by Churchmen of such doctrines and 
such views being taught within the bosom of the 
Church was to him most sad and inexplicable. If such 
was the instruction which young Divinity students 
were receiving at the universities, no wonder that the 
supply of candidates for ordination was falling off. 

The Eev. J. 0. Bevan said it was not in the power 
of any man or any body of men to ignore the Higher 
Criticism or to suppress it. It had " come to stay," 
and its influence for good or evil must be recognized. 

The President (Archbishop of Canterbury) said that 
" Bible teaching ought to be given with a Isackground 
of knowledge on the part of the teacher. He should 
deprecate as strongly as anybody that men who felt 
that they could not honestly continue to hold the 
Christian creeds should hold office in the Church of 
England. But he saw no connection between the 
sort of teaching which the Conference had now been 
considering and the giving up of the Christian creed. 
The Old Testament was a literature which had come 
down to them from ancient days. Modern investiga- 
tion enabled them now to set the earlier stages of that 
literature in somewhat different surroundings from 
those in which they were set by their fathers and 
grandfathers." With regard to the book which had 
been referred to, the Archbishop said that, if the rider 
proposed was intended to imply a censure upon a 
particular writer, nothing would induce him to vote 
for it, inasmuch as he had not read the book, and 
knew nothing, at first hand, about it. He thought 
members ought to pause before they lightly gave 
votes which could be so interpreted. 

The motion, on being put to the meeting, was. 
carried with one dissentient. The rider was also 
carried by a majority. 

It amounts, then, to this, that a rule of limited 
liability is to be observed in the investigation of 
early Christianity. You may be critical, but not up 
to the point of calling in question the Virgin Birth 



EPILOGUE 21-9 

or physical resurrection of Christ. The Bishop of 
Croydon opines that the free discussion of such 
questions in University circles intimidates young 
men from taking orders. If he lived in Oxford, he 
would know that it is the other way about.'^ If 
Mr. Thompson had been allowed to say what he 
thought, unmolested ; if the Bishops of Winchester 
and of Oxford had not at once taken steps to silence 
and drive him out of the Church, students would 
have been better encouraged to enter the Anglican 
ministry, and the more intellectual of our young 
men would not avoid it as a profession hard to 
reconcile with truth and honesty and self-respect. 

In the next number of the same journal (June 2, 
1911) is recorded another example of how little our 
bishops are inclined to face a plain issue. It is 
cjontained in a paragraph headed thus : — 

SYMBOLISM OF THE ASCENSION. 

The Bishop op Birmingham on the Second Coming. 

Preaching to a large congregation in Birmingliam 

Cathedral the Bishop of Birmingham said that 

people had found difficulty in modern times about the 
Ascension, because, they said, " God's heaven is no 
more above our heads than under our feet." That 
was perfectly true. But there were certain ways of 

1 Within the last two months the theological faculties of Oxford 
and Cambridge, and the examining chaplains (of various bishops) 
resident in those universities, have addressed a petition to the Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury praying him to absolve candidates for Ordina- 
tion of the necessity of avowing that " they believe unfeignedly in the 
whole of the Old and New Testaments," because so many competent 
and well-qualified students are thereby deterred from taking holy 
orders. The Archbishop would, it seems, make the individual clergy- 
man's conscience the sole judge (to the exclusion of the Bishop of 
Croydon) of the propriety of his retaining his orders in spite of his 
rejection of this and that tradition or dogma. That is at least a sign 
that opinion is on the move. 



220 EPILOGUE 

expressing moral ideas rooted in human thought, and 
we did not the less speak continually of the above and 
the b.elow as expressing what was morally high and 
morally low, and we should go on doing so to the end. 
The ascension of Jesus Christ and his concealment in 
the clouds was a symbolical act, like all the acts after 
his Eesurrection ; it was to impress their minds with 
the truth of his mounting to the glory of God. 
Symbols were the best means of expressing the truth 
about things which lay outside their experience ; and 
the Ascension symbolized Christ's mounting to the 
supreme state of power and glory, to the perfect vision 

of God, to the throne of all the world The Kingdom 

was coming — had to come at last — " on earth as it is 
in heaven "; and one day, just as his disciples saw him 
passing away out of their experience and sight, would 
they see him coming back into their experience and 
their sight, and into his perfected Kingdom of 
Humanity. 

Now, I am sure that what people in modern times 
chiefly want to know about the Ascension is whether 
it really happened. Did Jesus in his physical body 
go up like a balloon before the eyes of the faithful, 
and disappear behind a cloud, or did he not? That 
is the plain issue, and Dr. Gore seems to avoid it. If 
he believes in such a miracle, why expatiate on the 
symbolism of all the acts of Jesus subsequent to his 
resurrection ? Such a miracle was surely sufficient 
unto itself, and never needed our attention to be 
drawn to its symbolical aspects and import. Does 
he mean that the legend is no more than "a certain 
way of expressing moral ideas rooted in human 
thought " ? May we welcome his insistence on its 
moral symbolism as a prelude to his abandonment 
of the literal truth of the tale ? I hope so, for in not 
a few apologetic books published by divines during 
the last twenty-five years I have encountered a 



EPILOGUE 221 

tendency to expatiate on the moral significance of 
extinct Biblical legends. It is, as the Rev. Mr. Figgis 
expresses it, a way ot " letting down the laity into the 
new positions of the Higher Criticism." Would it not 
be simpler, in the end, to tell people frankly that 
a legend is only a legend ? They are not children in 
arms. Why is it accounted so terrible for a clergy- 
man or minister of religion to express openly in the 
pulpit opinions he can hear in many academical 
lecture-rooms, and often entertains in the privacy of 
his study ? When the Archbishop of Canterbury 
tells his brother-doctors that " modern investigation 
enables them now to set the earlier stages of Old 
Testament literature in somewhat different surround- 
ings from those in which they were set by their 
fathers and grandfathers," he means that modern 
scholarship has emptied the Old Testament of its 
miraculous and supernatural legends. But the 
Anglican clergyman at ordination declares that he 
believes unfeignedly the whole of the Old and New 
Testaments. How can an Archbishop not dispense 
his clergy from belief in the New, when he is so ready 
to leave it to their individual consciences whether they 
will or will not believe in the Old ? The entire posi- 
tion is hollow and illogical, and most of the bishops 
know it ; but, instead of frankly recognizing facts, they 
descant upon the symbolical meaning of tales which 
they know they must openly abandon to-morrow. 
One is inclined to ask Dr. Gore why Christ could not 
have imparted in words to his followers the secret of 
his mounting to the supreme state of power and 
glory ? Did they at the time, or afterwards, set any 
such interpretation on the story of his rising up from 
the ground like an airship or an exhalation? Of 



222 EPILOGUE 

course they did not. They thought the earth was 
a fixed, flat surface, and that, if you ascended through 
the several lower heavens, you would find yourself 
before a great white throne, on which sat, in Oriental 
state, among his winged cherubim, the Most High. 
They thought that Jesus consummated the hackneyed 
miracle of his ascension by sitting down on the right 
hand of this Heavenly Potentate. If Dr. Gore doubts 
this, let him consult the voluminous works of the 
early Fathers on the subject. The entire legend 
coheres with ancient, and not with modern, cosmo- 
gony. How can it possibly be defended to-day on 
grounds of symbolism, or on any other ? The same 
criticism applies to the legend of the Virgin Birth. 
The Bishop of London is reduced to defending this 
thrum of ancient paganism by an appeal to the 
biological fact of parthenogenesis among insects. 
Imagine the mentality of a modern bishop who 
dreams that he is advancing the cause of true 
religion and sound learning by assimilating the birth 
of his Saviour to that of a rotifer or a flea ! 

The books of Dr. Drews and Mr. Eobertson and 
others of their school are, no doubt, blundering 
extravaganzas, all the more inopportune because they 
provoke the gibes of Dr. Moulton ; but they are at 
least works of Preethought. Their authors do not 
write with one eye on the truth and the other on the 
Pope in the Vatican, or on the obsolete dogmas of 
Byzantine speculation. It is possible, therefore, to 
discuss with them, as it is not with apologists, who 
take good care never to lay all their cards on the 
table, and of whom you cannot but feel, as the great 
historian Mommsen remarked, that they are chatter- 
ing in chains {ex vinculis sermocinantes) . In the 



EPILOGUE 223- 

investigation of truth there can be no mental reserves, 
and argument is useless where the final appeal lies to 
a Pope or a creed. You cannot set your hand to the 
plough and then look back. 

It was not, then, within the scope of this essay to 
try to determine how much and what particular inci- 
dents traditionally narrated of Jesus are credible. 
Such a task would require at least a thousand pages 
for its discharge ; I have merely desired to show how 
difficult it is to prove a negative, and how much 
simpler it is to admit that Jesus really lived than to 
argue that he was a solar or other myth. The latter 
hypothesis, as expounded in these works, offends every 
principle of philology, of comparative mythology, 
and of textual criticism ; it bristles with difficulties ; 
and, if no better demonstration of it can be offered, it 
deserves to be summarily dismissed. 

On the other hand, no absolute rules can be laid 
down a priori for the discerning in early Christian or 
in any other ancient documents of historical fact. 
But students embarking on a study of Christian 
origins will do well to lay to heart the aphorism of 
Renan {Les Apotres, Introd. xxix), that " one can 
only ascertain the origin of any particular religion 
from the narratives or reports of those who believed 
therein ; for it is only the sceptic who writes history ad 
narrandum." It is in the very nature of things human 
that we could not hope to obtain documents more 
evidential than the Gospels and Acts. It is a lucky 
chance that time has spared to us the Epistles of Paul 
as well, and the sparse notices of first-century con- 
gregations and personalities preserved in Josephus and 
in pagan writers. For during the first two or three 
generations of its existence the Church interested few 



224 EPILOGUE 

except itself. In the view of a Josephus, the Jewish 
converts could only figure as Jews gone astray after a 
false Messiah, just as the Gentile recruits were mere 
Judaizers, objects — as he remarks, B. J., II, 18, 2 — 
of equal suspicion to Syrian pagans and Jews alike, 
an ambiguous, neutral class, spared by the knife of 
the pagans, yet dreaded by the Jews as at heart aliens 
to their cause.^ There were no folklorists or compara- 
tive religionists in those days watching for new cults 
to appear ; and there could be little or no inclination 
to sit down and write history among enthusiasts who 
dreamed that the end of the world was close at hand, 
and believed themselves to be already living in the last 
days. For this is the conviction that colours the 
whole of the New Testament ; and that it does so is a 
signal proof of the antiquity of much that the book 
contains. If a Christian of the first century ever 
took up his pen and wrote, it was not to hand down 
an objective narrative of events to a posterity whose 
existence he barely contemplated, but, as against 
unbelieving Jews, to establish from ancient prophecy 
his belief in Jesus as the promised Messiah, or 
perhaps as the Word of God made flesh. AH Chris- 
tians were aware that Jews, both in Judtea and of the 
Dispersion, roundly denied their Christ to have been 
anything better than an impostor and violator of the 
Law. They heard the pagans round them echoing 
the scoffs of their Messiah's own countrymen. Accord- 
ingly, the earliest literature of the Church, so far as 
it is not merely homiletic and hortative, is controver- 

' Such is Eenan's interpretation of this passage in L' Ante-Christ, 
ed. 1873, p. 259, and he is undoubtedly right in detecting in it a, 
reference to the Christians scattered abroad in the half-Syrian and 
pagan, half -Jewish and monotheist, cities of Syria. 



EPILOGUE 225 

sial, and aims at proving that the Jewish people were 
mistaken in rejecting Jesus as the Messiah. The 
Jews neither then nor now have fought with mere 
shadows ; and just in proportion as they bore witness 
against his Messiahship, they bore witness in favour 
of his historical reality. It is a pity that the extreme 
negative school ignore this aspect of his rejection by 
the Jews. 

Let me cite one more wise rule laid down by Renan 
in the same Introduction : " An ancient writing can 
help us to throw light, firstly, on the age in which it 
was composed, and, secondly, on the age which pre- 
ceded its composition." 

This indicates in a general fashion the use which 
historians should make of the New Testament. We 
have at every turn to ask ourselves what the circum- 
stances its contents reveal presuppose in the imme- 
diate past in the way both of ideas or aspirations 
and of fact or incidents. 

In conclusion, I cannot do better than quote the 
words in which Renan defines in general terms the 
sort of historical results we may hope to attain in the 
field of Christian origins. It is from the Introduction 
already cited, pp. vi and vii : — 

In histories like this, where the general outline 
(ensemble) alone is certain, and where nearly all the 
details lend themselves more or less to doubt by 
reason of the legendary character of the documents, 
hypothesis is indispensable. About ages of which we 
know nothing we cannot frame any hypothesis at all. 
To try to reconstitute a particular group of ancient 
statuary, which certainly once existed, but of which 
we have not even the debris, and about which we 
possess no written information, is to attempt an 
entirely arbitrary task. But to endeavour to recom- 
pose the friezes of the Parthenon from what remains 

Q 



226 EPILOGUE 

to us, using as subsidiary to our work ancient texts, 
drawings made in the seventeenth century, and avail- 
ing ourselves of all sources of information ; in a word, 
inspiring ourselves by the style of these inimitable 
fragments, and endeavouring to seize their soul and 
life — what more legitimate task than this? We 
cannot, indeed, after all, say that we have rediscovered 
the work of the ancient sculptor; nevertheless, we 
shall have done all that was possible in order to 
approximate thereto. Such a method is all the more 
legitimate in history, because language permits the 
use of dubitative moods of which marble admits not. 
There is nothing to prevent our setting before the 
reader a choice of different suppositions, and the 
author's conscience may be at rest as soon as he has 
set forth as certain what is certain, as probable what 
is probable, as possible what is possible. In those 
parts of the field where our footstep slides and slips 
between history and legend it is only the general 

effect that we must seek after Accomplished facts 

speak more plainly than any amount of biographic 
detail. We know very little of the peerless artists 
who created the chefs d'ceuvre of Greek art. Yet 
these chefs d'ceuvre tell us more of the personality of 
their authors and of the public which appreciated 
them than ever could do the most circumstantial 
narratives and the most authentic of texts. 



INDEX 



Acts of the Apostles, their testi- 
mony in favour of the his- 
toricity of Jesus, 113 foil. 

their evidence, outside the 

we sections, with respect to 
Paul, 120 foil.; it agrees with 
that of the Pauline Epistles, 131 

Anthropology, how conceived of 
by Robertson and Drews, 94, 
178 foil. 

Antiochus Epiphanes, legend of 
his finding a human victim in 
the Holy of Holies accepted by 
Mr. Robertson, 51 

Aphraates, the Syrian Father, on 
the divinity of Jesus, 176 

Apion, his fables accepted by Mr. 
Robertson, 51, 54 

ApoUonius of Tyana, in spite of 
the parallelisms of his story 
with that of Jesus, is allowed 
by Mr. Robertson to have really 
lived, 6, 45 ; his exorcisms, 13 ; 
mythical elements in his his- 
tory do not deter Mr. Robert- 
son from allowing that he 
really lived, 46 foil. 

miracles worked at his 

shrine, 200 

ApoUonius, Senator of Rome, 
c.A.D. 182 ; his apology for 
Christianity, 188 note 

ApoUos and " the things concern- 
ing Jesus," 35 foil. 

Apologetic works awake legi- 
timate suspicion, among 
moderns, even of the histori- 
city of Jesus, 214 

Apostles known to Paul were not 
companions of Jesus, but 
leaders of the Sun-myth sect 



and subordinates of the Jewish 
High Priest, 140 ; they con- 
cocted the Didache or Teaching 
of the Twelve Apostles, 141, 185 

Apparitions of Jesus to the faith- 
ful, 149 

Arnold, Matthew, Mr. Robert- 
son's appreciation of him, 172 

Ascension into heaven of Jesus, 
a symbolic act according to 
Dr. Gore, 21^ foil. 

Asses, Jesus's ride on the two, 
explained by Mr. Robertson, 
22, 76 

Athanasian orthodoxy, based on 
the Fourth Gospel, 103 

Athanasius's Christology, 3 

Augustus Csesar, worshipped as 
an incarnate God, 57, 198 note 

Babylonian myths in the Bible, 
203 

Bacon-Shakesperians find their 
rivals in the domain of New 
Testament exegesis in Messrs. 
Robertson, Drews, and W. B. 
Smith, 182, 188 note 

Baptism of John to be astrally 
explained according to Dr. 
Drews, 155 

Bevan, Rev. B. F. , pleads for 
recognition in English pulpits 
of scientific methods, 217 

Rev. J. O. , his plea for 

recognition in English Church 
of the Higher Criticism, 218 

Bifrons, new meaning of, dis- 
covered by Mr. Robertson, 63, 
77 

Birth legends of Jesus, as sup- 
plied by Luke and Matthew, 



227 



228 



INDEX 



evidence ■» popular belief that 

he had lived, 99 
Brethren of Jesus, only such in a 

Pickwickian sense, according to 

Robertson, Drews, and W. B. 

Smith, 145 foil. 
Burkitt, Prof.F. C, on Nazareth, 

4-2 

Cai,-tebbuby, Archbishop of, on 
Bible criticism, 218 

Carpenter, Dr. Estlin, his criti- 
cisms of Mr. Kobertson, 76, 113 

Celsus's Gospel contained story of 
Judas Iscariot, 137 

Cephas, or Peter, personally 
opposed by Paul, 135 

Christ, or Messiah, meaning of 
the name, 11 

Christian literature of early cen- 
turies mainly anti-Jewish, 224, 
225 

Christianity, early, in the travel 
document of Acts, 116, 117 

" Christist " receipt for manufac- 
turing a Gospel, 95 

Christians, first so called at 
Antioch, 165 

Church objects to sane criticism 
of the Bible, 1, 3 

Circumcision accepted by the 
earliest Christians, according 
to Drews and Bobertson, 89 

Clement of Eome cites the 
Pauline Epistles, 126 ; his 
description of the Neronian 
persecution, 161 

Clement's Recognitions, 81 

Comparative religion, its true 
methods, "Ifoll, nS foil. 

" Composite myth " invoked by 
Drews and Eobertson in ex- 
planation of Jesus itself wholly 
inexplicable, 25, 48, 74, 77, 79 ; 
how "the composite myth" 
waged war on the gods and 
goddesses he was composed of, 
69 ; a wilfully absurd hypo- 
thesis, 90, 95, 181 

Conybeare, William Daniel, on 
Oxford historical studies, 216 



Cosquin, M. Emmanuel, his work 
a model of the comparative 
method, 178 

Cox, Sir George, on Sun-myths, 18 

Credulity of the hypercritical 
school of writers, 124, 182 

Croce, Benedetto, upon nature of 
history, 1 

Croydon, Bishop of, his obscurant- 
ism shared by the majority of 
the clergy, 217 foU. 

Crucifixion, absurdity of the 
parallels invoked by Mr.Kobert- 
son, 50 foil. 

Cumont, Prof. F. , on Mithras, 64 

Deacons, the Seven, in Acts, 117 

Deification of men common in 
antiquity — e.g., Augustus 
Csesar, the Pharaohs — com- 
patible with the reality of the 
persons deified, 57, 86, 198 

Demoniacs exorcized alike by 
Jesus and Apollonins, 13 

Demonology of earlier Gospels 
excluded from Fourth Gospel, 
86, 170 

Demons in Gospels explained by 
W. B. Smith as heathen gods 
and goddesses, 67, 189 

Didachi, or Teaching, of the 
Twelve Apostles, a Jewish 
document adopted by the 
Christists, 89 

Dieterich's Ahraj-as, 39 

Diogenes Laertius's life of Solon, 
4 ; of Plato, 58 

Dion of Bome on the art of 
Phidias, 180 note 

Dionysius-Jesus rides two asses 
at once according to Mr. 
Bobertson, 22, 76 

Docetes, nature of their tenets, 
86, 103 foil. 

Docetism in Philo and in Book 
of Tobit, 106 

Documents, historical, conditions 
of their right and legitimate 
use, 215 

Dositheos, the Samaritan Mes- 
siah, 198 note 



CiDEX 



229 



DreTTi. aoi^riiDii, W. B. Sziiin. 

eondema ne^rlr all riis:orl:-il 
figures lo :inre:i-liT. 6. 7 
Orews. Dr., 5inbri-:^e5 :lir figment 
of a 5 -i:^-r:-i J:-ih:ia. {I'll roU.; e- 
pous-is ilr. B.ji>en=-:n'= misan- 
aerszL^ii^^oi Ei libirl. a5 ; 
on J:-s*p--iiicvTa=. m ; on ine 
home liie :i i-e Messliii. 67: 
ne a-1 '^ ' 3 mneh o: e^rlv Chris- 
fe^n -I'erivxre c^^ies tne 
G-ct=&r^ to be prior ;o the 
yeaj l.Vi. 3, 4. ICiO; a-iin;:= 
M^rz ::■ z-i ihe oldest G>Drpel. 
9 : en Pili;^, Lonrl3n=. the 
JaTelln man, and ihe Miikr 
^aj. 27 ,"1:71.; e-pjnses the 

Mr. E-jKnion. 69,' 70 : iimiu 
presence of Jewish rlies and 
beliefs in eaz-Iiest Christianity. 
89 ; misonderstands natore of 
Gnostic Doeerlsni, 104 foil.; 
also of Jewish Mssianic belief 
in early second oentoiy, 107 ; 
arLaihe; importance to Paul as 
the real founder of ChiistianitT, 
113 : opines that Ta<iiii;= was 
inierpolated fnun Sulpieios 
Se Terns by Poggio, 161 folL ; 
on the Chrestiani or Totaries of 
Serapis. 163 ; his aecoont of 
John the BaposT. 210 
DnXa_neiirL Smile, on Diiniitive 
reiigion, 19 ; on the right 
Irmitg of comparison, 72 

£a3a53: alternately identified by 
P. Jcr3en with Jesns and John 
the Baprlst. i'.v 

ElephsT-rne. papyri of fiidi cen- 
tury B. c latelT recoTered thse, 
.32 

El Tahirl s aljnsions to Jcshna, 
misnsed by Mr. E.el-enson, 34 

E|direm'scomnientai7onActs,120 

Epimaiides according to the 
canons of the hyper :-ri ties nerer 
liTed, 5 

Esehato)ogy of New Testament 



inexplicable on Mr. Boberteon i 
hypotb^s, 102, 224; rnled 
ont in the Fonrtii &.jspel, 170 

E=o;erlc-5iii of early Chrisoanity 
felrnei ty Dre^r^. Boberiaon, 
ini Smiti. 16; a cloik fiir 
the —11 i ImprobabiHiy of their 
views, 31, y-O, 9L, liil. Ir-i/ili. 

Etiene meani a healer, according 
to Prof. W. B. Smith, 37 

Eoiebins of Casarea testines irom 
ancient docoments to the early 
bata^ of Jews for the memory 
of Jesns, 112 

F ■-L>T' " . Dr., Sector of Exeter 
Cjl.e2e. on Babylonian ele- 
ments m ancient religion and 
eivilization of Greece, 202 

Figgis, Bev. Mr., on Tfighpr 
Criticism, 221 

Fish symbolism^, misanier=»>i 
by Mr. Eobenson. 21 

F jnr;h Gospel, its eharacierlstics, 
~^. Krl. 103, 170 

Frazer, Dr. J. G., and Dr. Drews, 
142 ; ^teemed by Dr. Dre^s 
as being almost as great an 
aathority as Mr. Bobertson, 3-3 

GAULHiss, Epistle of Paul to, in 
relation to the narra^Te of Acts, 
1.31 ; its gennineness, 139 

Gardn^, Prof. Percy, on the two 
asses, 76, 113 

Gcspels, transcripis of an an> 
noally recorring mystery-play 
representing the deaA cf a 
Snn-god, regetation spite, 
cafled Joshna, and same as 
Atiis. lammna, Osiris, etc., 
4i /oQ.; a monotheisrlc alle- 
gory according to W. B. Smith, 
74, 85, 145, 191; not Mes- 
sianic romances, SI ; begin- 
ning of the deification of Jesns 
traceable in the later ones, 86 ; 
en>liition in them of Chzisto- 
logy, 169/0.7. 

Syr.oprie, their trne inter-re- 
lations Isnorei by Mr.Eobenson 



230 



INDEX 



whenever it suits his purpose, 
173 foil. 

Haedy, Mr. E. G., his work on 
Christianity in relation to the 
Roman Government, 161 

Hawkins, Sir John, his linguistic 
studies of Luke's Gospel and 
of Acts, 118 

Hebrews, epistle to, testifies to 
historicity of Jesus, 152 

High priest of the Jews pre- 
sided over the secret society of 
" Christists," 135 ; and sent 
forth the Twelve Apostles 
known to Paul, 142, 185 

Hippolytus, Bishop of Ostia, on 
the Docetism of the second 
century, 107 

Historical evidence, nature of, 
according to Benedetto Croce, 
1 ; conditions of, 7, 8 

Historical method. See Jack- 
son, Langlois, Kenan 

Historical reality and dates rarely 
ascribed by their votaries to 
such Gods as Adonis and 
Osiris, 199 

Historical statements in ancient 
authors so many problems to 
be explained, whether admitted 
or denied, 7, 8 

Horace regarded Augustus Csesar 
as a god from heaven made 
flesh, 198 note 

Humanity of Jesus in belief of 
early Christians, 176 foil. 

Human sacrifice discarded by 
Jews long before other races 
discarded it, 50 

Hyginus's myth of Bacchus and 
the two asses, 25, 76 

Hypereriticism of Drews, Robert- 
son, and W. B. Smith involves 
the unreality of Solon, Epime- 
nides, Pythagoras, ApoUonius 
of Tyana, 4-6 ; its wilful im- 
probabilities, 31 ; resembles 
old-fashioned orthodoxy in its 
failure to appreciate evidence, 
43 ; consents in profane history 



to separate off miracles from 
normal events, yet refuses to 
do so in sacred history, 4:5 foil. ; 
becomes mere credulity, 124, 
182 ; would abolish all history, 
167 ; is a repercussion from 
orthodox obscurantism, 168; 
damages the cause of Rational- 
ism, 186 

Ignatius of Antioch on Docetism 
of the early second century, 105 

Ignatian testimony to Pauline 
Epistles, 126 

Independent witnesses to the 
same facts, their importance 
explained, 8, 9, 96, 97, 123 

Interpolations of New Testament, 
hypothesis of, invoked at ran- 
dom by the hypercritical school 
as suits their argument, 125, 135 

Jackson, Ctkil, Dean of Christ 
Church, his educational ideals, 
216 

Jacob's prayer, a Jewish apocryph, 
cited by Origen, 198 note 

Jairus's daughter, miracle of her 
being raised from the dead 
paralleled in the life of Apol- 
lonius, 47 

James, brother of Jesus, visited 
by the author of the travel- 
document, 100 

Janus— Peter, 63, 77, 143 

Jensen, Dr. P. , 142 ; traces the 
entire Bible to the myth of 
Gilgamesch, 203; on "the 
Jesus-saga," 205 foil. ; his 
account of John the Baptist, 
206 foil. ; criticism of his 
method, 212 

Jerome, on encratite grounds, 
represented James, not as the 
brother, but as the cousin, of 
Jesus, 148 

Jesus Barabbas, 50, 52 

Jesus Ben Pandira, Mr. Robert- 
son takes refuge in him in 
order to escape admitting the 
identity of Paul's Jesus with 



moBx 



sai 



Jesns of Nmsaieth. 143 JoO.; 
tarns ont to be idoitieil, after 
aU. ISI.^111.; 1^, 199 
Jesns, his lurth at winta solstioe, 

ao 

Jesus, the name, connected by 
Prot Smith with the Gieek 
word iesoaMO— "I will heal," 
196 

Jesos colt, its original secrecy as 
eonjectined by Prof. W. B. 
Smith. 193 

"Jesos, the God of the Hebrews," 
in the papynis of Wessely, 39 

Jews, their Hessianic hopes in 
ew^ senmd centmy, 108; 
(bar hatred and ridioile of 
Uie man Jesos, 108 /oIL; their 
hostility to pagan mytiis and 
art legolariy ignived by Drews 
and Bobertson. 35, 39, 73, 90, 
91, mfafL. 180, 183 

Johannine Eidstles testify to his- 
tuKaty of Jesos, 133 

John the Baptist, alternately an 
astial myth and an £s£«ne, 
aecoiding to Dr. Drews, 133 

Jos^bos describes the Christians 
as JndaiapTS of an ambigooos 
and neotial class, detested alike 
by Jews and pagans, 2^ ; his 
notice of John the Baptist, 134 ; 
of Jesos, 136; of James the 
brother of Jesos, 137 /oU. 

Joseph in the Gospels an alias of 
the God Josej^ of the old man 
in Apol^DS, of Einjras, etc, 
63 

JoEhoa ben Jehozad&k tomed into 
a Snn-mjth by Dr. Diews, 33 

Joshna, Samaritan Book of , its age 
OTer.estimated by Dr. Drews, 33 

Joshua the San-god not dedncible 
from the Book of Joshua, 17,30; 
an invention of Mr. Bobortson's, 
17 note; his pagan aliases, 
89; adc^ted by Dr. Drews, 
30 ; deliberately sapprossed by 
Old Testament writers, accord, 
ing to Mr. Bobertson, 33, 34 ; 
his Tiigin mother Miriain an 



invention of Mr. Bobertson's, 
SSfalL, 93 ; why chosen ont as 
the god to be humanized by 
ChrUtiUs, 87; why shoold I^ 
have died annoally? SS foU. 

Judaic elements in early Chris- 
tianify admitted by Drews and 
Bob^tson, 89 

Judaic exdnsiTenss of Jesus's 
idea of the Kingdom of God, 
13, 133, 133 

Judas Iscariot, 137 

Jude, Epistle of, testifies to a real 
Jesus, 133 

Judgment of Israel, narre picture 
of it in the Gospels, 14 

Jos&i Martyr on Jewish Mes- 
sianic hop^ in early second 
century, 108 ; on Jewish exe- 
cration of the real man Jesns 
in the same age, 109 foB.; 
regarded Jesos as an incarnate 
archangel, 193 note 

Eets and Peter, meaning of, 64 

Khonds of India, their human 
sacrifioK invoked by Mr. Bobert- 
son in explanation of the 
Oracifixion, 33 

Kingdom of God, old Persian 
elonents therein, 10, 11 ; its 
immediate advent preached in 
torn by John die Baptist and 
by Jesus, 10 /oO., 101 jbll., ITS 

Kraiais, Samuel, on Talmudic and 
Jewish traditions of Jesus, 131 
foU. 

IiAXB, Jesus represented as — 
why? 31 

lAnglois and SeignobcB on the 
valne and limitations of the 
Argument from Silence, 129 ; 
on nature of ancient docu- 
ments, 16S: on the credulity 
which besets hypercritieism, 
183,186 

laast judgment assigned to JesiK- 
OsuJs, 31 

Last Snpps', bow handled by Mr. 
Bobatson, 130 



232 



INDEX 



Liddon, Canon, his superstitious 
attitude towards Biblical criti- 
cism, 128 

Lightfoot's Horte Hebraicce on 
Jesus Ben Pandira, 152 

Loisy, Prof. Alfred, his commen- 
taries, 169 

Longinus the Centurion, his 
legend set back in reign of 
Nero by Dr. Drews, 28 

Lorinser, Dr. , censured by Eobert- 
son for his derivation of Krish- 
naism from Christianity, 75 
foil., 78 

Luke expressly mentioned as 
author of the travel document 
in Ephrem's text of Acts, 120 

Luke's Gospel, its date and rela- 
tions to Matthew and Mark, 98 

MAiA=Maria, 69, 70 

Maira=Maria, 70 

Maroion's use of Luke's Gospel, 
119 

Marett on right method in com- 
parative investigations of reli- 
gion, 73, 74, 77 

Mark's Gospel, admitted by Dr. 
Drews to be the oldest, 9 ; 
resume of its contents, 10 foil.; 
its priority denied by Mr.Eobert- 
son whenever it suits his pur- 
pose, 23 ; its author had never 
heard of the legend of the 
Virgin Birth, iifoll, 175 

Mary, Mother of Jesus. Her 
name a form of Myrrha,Moira, 
Maya, Maia, etc. , according to 
Mr. Bobertson and Dr. Drews, 
69 

Matthew's Gospel, its date and 
relations to Mark and Luke, 
99 

Max Muller, Friedrich, on Sun- 
myths, 18 

Maya=Maria, 69, 70 

Melito of Sardis, his Apology for 
Christianity, 150 

Merris= Maria, 70 

Messianic expectations in early 
second century, as reflected in 



Justin Martyr, 108 ; they domi- 
nate the Synoptic Gospels, 
178 

Messianism of the New Testa- 
ment Ignored or misunderstood 
by Messrs. Drews, Robertson, 
W. B. Smith, and other deniers 
of the historicity of Jesus, 
101 

Miracles of the Gospels, 2 

Miraculous and non-miraculous 
elements according to Messrs. 
Bobertson and Drews co-exist 
in works of profane history 
without prejudicing their vera- 
city, but in the Gospels they 
pretend that they form an im- 
penetrable block of myth, 45 
foil., U8foll. 

Mithras-Peter, 63, 143 

Jfoira = Maria, 69, 70 

Moirai, the three, identified by 
Mr. Bobertson with the three 
Maries, 179 

Mommsen, his verdict on Apolo- 
gists, 3, 222 

Monotheistic propaganda absent 
from the Gospels, which never- 
theless, on W. B. Smith's view, 
reflect a monotheistic crusade, 
187, 190 

Mount, Sermon upon the, ex- 
plained by Robertson on astral 
principles, 20, 21 

Myrrha = Maria, 69, 70 

Myth, Magic, and Morals cited, 
1, 44 

Mythical accretions differently 
estimated by Messrs. Bobertson 
and Drews in secular and in 
sacred history, 45 foil. 

Myths of ancient gods, in what 
way they contrast with the 
Gospels, 82 

Nazaketh same as Chorazin 
according to F. C. Burkitt, 41 

Nazoraei of Epiphanius, how 
Prof. W. B. Smith conjures 
with them, 41 ; for Matthew 
the word meant simply 



INDEX 



233 



" dwellers in Nazareth," ibid. 

note 
Nero's persecution of Christianity, 

160 foil. 
Novels, ancient Greek, contrasted 

with the Gospels, 82 

Cannes or Ea equated with John 
the Baptist by Dr. Drews, 155 

Orthodox obscurantism responsi- 
ble for the vagaries of Messrs. 
Robertson, Drews, W. B. 
Smith, and similar writers, 1, 
128, 168 

Origen on the Samaritan Messiah 
Dositheos, 198 note ; his con- 
fused citations of Josephus mis- 
lead Prof. W. B. Smith, 157 /oH. 

Osiris = Jesus in the last judg- 
ment, 21 ; his death, 48 ; his 
statuette suggested the scourg- 
ing of the money-changers by 
Jesus, 62, 77 

Oxford, Bishop of, on the symbo- 
lical character of the Ascension, 
219 

Pan-Baiylonismus, 202 

Papias's evidence about the Gos- 
pels, 10 ; on Judas Iscariot, 187 

Parables of Jesus mainly turn on 
the imminence of the kingdom 
of heaven, 13 

Paton, W. E., on the Sacaea, 53 

Paul's general aloofness from the 
historical Jesus, 138; did not 
prevent his testifying to the 
main facts of his life, 132 foil. 

Paul's lack of appreciation of 
Greek art, 180; his rivalry 
with the older Apostles, 134 

Pauline Epistles, how handled by 
the deniers of Jesus' s histori- 
city, 125 ; evidence of their 
antiquity in Marcion, Ignatius, 
and Clement of Rome, 125 
foil.; mainly genuine, if judged 
by their contents, 131 ; their 
evidence as regards historicity 
of Jesus, 132 foil. ; their picture 
of Jesus, 169 



Peter, an understudy of Mithras 
or of Janus or of Proteus, 62 
foil., 143 ; his Epistle testifies 
to an historical Jesus, 153 

Peter, Gospel ascribed to, recog- 
nizes the Twelve Apostles, 136 

Pfleiderer, Dr., Mr. Robertson's 
judgment of him, 172 

Philonean character of Johannine 
Gospel, 103, 111 

Philo's embassy to Caligula, 180 ; 
his docetic views as to angels 
visiting Abraham, 106 ; his 
description of mob-mockery in 
Alexandria of the King of the 
Jews, 53 

Pilate, the Javelin man of Dr. 
Drews, 27 

Plato, his supposed prophecy of 
Jesus, 188 note; Mr. Robert- 
son's arguments leave no room 
for historicity, 57 ; his virgin 
birth compatible, according to 
Mr. Robertson, with his reality, 
58 

Play, annual mystery-plays of 
Jesus invented by Mr. Robert- 
son, is foil., 91, 135 foil. 

Pliny's notice of the Christians 
of Bithynia, 40, 162 foil.; Prof. 
W. B. Smith's attempt to 
explain it away, 163 

Poggio interpolated Tacitus from 
Sulpicius Severus, according 
to Dr. Drews, l&l foil. 

Pre-Christian Jesus, no evidence 
needed to prove his reality, 
according to Prof. W. B. 
Smith, 32 ; far-fetched char- 
acter of the hypothesis, 35 foil. 

Prephilologioal etymologies of 
Messrs. Robertson and Drews, 
70, 179 

Proteus— Peter, 63, 143 

Pythagoras, judged by the rules 
of the hypercritics, not an his- 
torical figure, 5 

Q, or the non-Marcan source 
embedded in Matthew and 
Luke, 10 



234 



INDEX 



Beduplioations, rhetorical, their 
frequency in Hebrew literature, 
24, 76 

Benan, on character of early 
history of Christianity, 223 
foil. 

Eesurrected Jesus appears to 
five hundred men at once, 149 

Revelation of John, testifies to 
a real Jesus, 153 

Robertson, Mr. J. M., not properly 
esteemed in Germany, accord- 
ing to Dr. Drews, 15 ; his 
invention of the Sun - god 
Joshua, 17 ; sets Mark later 
than Matthew, when it serves 
his purpose to do so, 23; his 
ideas of evidence exampled in 
his handling of El Tabari, 34 ; 
his hypothesis of mystery-plays 
representing death of Joshua 
the Sun-god, 48 foil. ; censures 
Dr. Lorinser for deriving 
Krishna myths from Christian- 
ity, 75 foil. ; admits presence 
of Jewish elements in primitive 
Christianity, 89 ; adopts Jesus 
Ben Pandira, 143 foil. ; and 
passim 

Sacaea, character of, 52 

Samaritan apooryph of Joshua, 33 

Savages deify humble objects 
rather than the sublime in 
nature, 18 

Sohmiedel's "Pillars," how dealt 
with by Mr. Robertson, 112 foil. 

Secrecy of early Christian cult 
and propaganda a fiction of 
Prof. W. B. Smith's fancy, 
188, 190 

Silence, argument from, 42, 119, 
129 /oZJ. 

Slain god cult, the idea not 
primitive in Christianity, but 
a development of Pauline 
thought, 177 

Smith, Prof. W. B., uses the 
Gospels as historical docu- 
ments whenever it suits his 
argument, 192, 197 ; on the 



sublimity of the initial letter 
J, 195 ; on the Acts and 
Epistles, 197; on esoterism of 
early Church, 192 foil.; his 
hypothesis of a pre-Christian 
Jesus, 32 ; his hypothesis based 
on the exiguous evidence of 
Acts xviii, 24 foil., 35; insists 
on the monotheistic signifi- 
cance of the Gospels, 74, 187, 
190 ; his hypothesis that Jesus 
was an ancient monotheist 
deity humanized, 84, 124 ; he 
misunderstands the Gospels, 
and turns them into allegory, 
85 foil., 18S foil.; disputes the 
antiquity of the Pauline 
Epistles, 126 foil.; his use 
of the argument from silence, 
130 ; attempts to explain away 
the brethren of Jesus, 145 /oM.; 
his theory that the Gospels 
represent a "crusade for mono- 
theism," 187 foil.; he contra- 
dicts his main presuppositions 
in order to argue from the 
Gospels at all, 191 

Socialism, modern, resembles 
apocalyptic faith of earliest 
Christians, 102 

Solomon, Psalms of, upon the 
Messiah as the Last Judge, 21 

Solon, doubts implied by the 
hypercritics as to his histori- 
city, 4 

Spencer, Dr. John, on methods 
of comparative religion, 72 

Suetonius's application of epithet 
Malefica to Christian religion, 
161, 165 

Suetonius on oriental messiahs, 
196 ; his phrase imptUsore 
Ghresto, its meaning according 
to Dr. Drews, Uifoll. 

Sulzbach, A. , on Peter's keys, 64 

Sunday-school style of criticism 
of Robertson, Drews, and W. 
B. Smith, 23, 43, 168, and 
passim 

Sun-myth phase of comparative 
mythology, though obsolete. 



INDEX 



23S 



yet upheld in books of Drews 
and Bobertsou, 18, and passim 

Taciius's references to the Chris- 
tians, how handled by W. B. 
Smith, 159 foil.; supported by 
Clement of Eome, 161 

Temple cleansing, story of, origi- 
nated according to Mr. Bobert- 
son in a statuette of Osiris with 
a scourge, 61 foil., 77 

Theola, story of, 81 

Theophilus, Luke's exordiums 
addressed to him attest a belief 
on part of both as well as of 
many others that Jesus was no 
myth, 99, 100 

Thomas, apostle, legends of, 81 

Thompson, Eev. W. H. , his work 
on miracles, how received in 
the English Church, 217 

Tobit, Book of, Docetism in, 106 

Toldoth Jeschu, or Jewish tradi- 
tion of Jesus, 151 foil. 

Travel document, or We sections, 
in Acts, 100 ; a summary of 
their contents, 115 foil. ; prob- 
ably written by the author of 
Acts and not merely an inde- 
pendent document used up by 
him, 118 

Twelve Apostles the Twelve Signs 
of the Zodiac, 20, 78 ; identical 
with the twelve apostles of the 
Jewish High Priest, 135 foil; 
Paul's rivalry with them, 134, 
138 

Univeksiiies of Oxford and Cam- 
bridge have ignored the study 
of Christian antiquities, 216 

Van Manen's favourable estimate 
of Acts accepted by Messrs. 



Drews and Robertson, 113 foil.; 
his absurd system of dating 
ancient literature espoused by 
Messrs. Bobertson and Drews, 
119, 125 fall, 137 

Virgin Birth Legend, Messrs. 
Robertson and Drews insist 
that it was part and parcel of 
the earliest evangelical tradi- 
tion, 44 foil, 170, 175; in 
spite of their virgin births, 
Plato and Augustus are ad- 
mitted by Mr. Robertson to 
have been real men, 49 foil; 
lateness of Gospel records 
thereof admitted by Mr. Robert- 
son, 50, 92 

Virgin Mary, late introduction of 
her feasts in the Church, 171 

Weiss, Prof. Jo., on influence of 
the Septuagint on Luke's ac- 
count of the birth of John the 
Baptist, 206 

Wellhausen's commentary on the 
Gospels, 169 ; his view of the 
date of composition of the 
Gospels of Mark and Luke, 97 

Wendland, Prof. Paul, on the 
Sacaea, 53 

Wessely's papyrus mentions 
" Jesus the God of the 
Hebrews," 39 

William Tell myth, 42 

Winckler, Prof. Hugo, hia astral 
methods of interpreting myths, 
209 ; on Sun and Moon myths 
in the Old Testament, 87, 142 

XisuTHROs = Jesus, in Dr. Jen- 
sen's Gilgameseh Epos, 211 

ZiMMEBN, Prof. Heinrich, on the 
Deluge, 203 



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